play for keeps

play for keeps

to do things with permanent effect; to be serious in one's actions. (From the game of marbles, where the winner actually keeps all the marbles won.) Are we playing for keeps or can we give everything back at the end of the game? We are playing for keeps, so be careful of what you do.
See also: keep, play

play for keeps

to do something with very serious concern about the results These bargaining sessions are most difficult because both sides are playing for keeps. In many New York publishing houses, softball is played for keeps.
See also: keep, play

play for keeps

  (American & Australian informal)
to do something very seriously and not just for enjoyment These arms dealers play for keeps - they want the best weapons available and will do anything to get them.
See also: keep, play

play for keeps

in. to take serious and permanent actions. (Refers to playing a game where the money won is not returned at the end of the game.) I always play for keeps.
See also: keep, play
References in periodicals archive ?
Panthers Play for Keeps provides a fine Pru Marlowe Pet Noir mystery revolving around a dogwalker who spots a body-and becomes involved in a real mystery.
Tracks he was a guest on, such as Jessie J's Price Tag and Bruno Mars's Beautiful Girl were reworked to focus on the rapping, but it was songs such as Play For Keeps and Strange Clouds that worked best.
The school runs a Play for Keeps course suitable for children and adults and it is hoped to introduce as many new people as possible to keyboard playing.
Etone School, in Leicester Road, is offering the free introductory music lesson at a special open day on Saturday at Etone's Yamaha Music School, which runs Yamaha's Play for Keeps and new Junior Play for Keeps courses.
While these deals help extend geographic coverage of service, IDT and other secondary players don't have the big money to play for keeps or withstand a battle over the long haul of losses.