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1. To take part (in something) for a specific reason. We're not out here playing for fun—we're here to win! I'd prefer not to play for money, if that's all right.
2. To use something specific as the wager in a game or contest, especially a game of cards. None of us had any money, so we just played for marbles. His gambling addiction had gotten so out of hand that, at one point, he was actually playing a game of poker for the deed to his house.
3. In sports, to be on a particular team or represent a particular city, state, or country. The quarterback said he was excited to be playing for Philadelphia. He's been playing for the Yankees for so long that no one expected him to get traded. It was his dream growing up to play rugby for Ireland.
play for something
1. to gamble for something; to use something as the medium of exchange for gaming or gambling. Let's just play for nickels, okay? We will play for dollar bills.
2. to play for a particular reason, other than winning. We are just playing for fun. They are not competing. They are playing for practice.
1. Take part for a particular reason, as in We're not playing for money, just for fun. A special usage of this idiom is play for laughs, that is, with the aim of arousing laughter.
2. play someone for. Manage someone for one's own ends, make a fool of, dupe or cheat. For example, I resent your playing me for a fool, or He suddenly found out she'd been playing him for a sucker. This usage employs play in the sense of "exhaust a hooked fish," that is, manage it on the line so that it exhausts itself. [Mid-1600s]