Words related to play


Proto-Indo-European root found in Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, and possibly Latin, meaning "to engage oneself, be or become fixed."

It forms all or part of: indulge; indulgence; play; pledge; plight (v.) "to pledge;" replevin.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit drmha-, drhya- "to fix, make firm;" Old Avestan derez- "fetter;" Gaulish delgu "to hold," Middle Welsh dala "to hold," Old Breton delgim "to hold;" Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Gothic tulgjan "to fasten."

downplay (v.)

"de-emphasize, minimize," 1968, from verbal phrase play (something) down, which is perhaps from music or theater;  down (adv.) + play (v.). Related: Downplayed; downplaying.

lark (n.2)

"spree, frolic, merry adventure," 1811, slang, of uncertain origin. Possibly a shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang for "play rough in the rigging of a ship" (larks were proverbial for high-flying). Or perhaps it is an alteration of English dialectal or colloquial lake/laik "to play, frolic, make sport" (c. 1300, from Old Norse leika "to play," from PIE *leig- (3) "to leap") with unetymological -r- common in southern British dialect. The verb lake, considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play. As a verb, from 1813. Related: Larked; larking.

long-playing (adj.)

1910, of gramophone recordings, from long (adv.) + present participle of play (v.).

outplay (v.)

also out-play, "to play better than, surpass in playing," 1640s, from out- + play (v.). Related: Outplayed; outplaying.

overplay (v.)

"to emphasize (something) too much," 1933, a metaphor from card games, in to overplay (one's) hand, "to spoil one's hand by bidding in excess of its value" (1926), from over- + play (v.). Earlier (from 1819) in a theatrical sense, "act (a part) with an extravagant and unnatural manner." Middle English had overpleien in the sense of "to outplay, defeat." Related: Overplayed; overplaying.

playable (adj.)

late 15c., plaiabil, "playful, sportive," from play (v.) + -able. Original sense is obsolete; the meaning "capable of being played" in various senses is from 1860. Related: Playability.

playback (n.)

"reproduction of a recording," 1929, from the verbal phrase; see play (v.) + back (adv.).

playboy (n.)

1829, "wealthy bon vivant," from play (v.) + boy. As the name of a U.S.-based magazine for men, from December 1953. Earlier (1620s), play-boy meant "schoolboy actor." Fem. equivalent playgirl is recorded by 1934.

play-day (n.)

"day given to pastime or diversion, a day exempt from work," c. 1600, from play (v.) + day.

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