play the field


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play the field

1. To bet on all horses in a race other than the one favored to win. My father had this curious strategy of always playing the field when he bet on horse races. Never worked for him, though.
2. By extension, to date a variety of people rather than making a commitment to one person. I played the field a bit during college, but I prefer having a steady relationship.
See also: field, play

play the field

to date many different people rather than just one. When Tom told Ann good-bye, he said he wanted to play the field. He said he wanted to play the field while he was still young.
See also: field, play

play the field

Date more than one person; avoid an exclusive commitment. For example, All of Joe's friends are married now, but he continues to play the field. This term originated in British horseracing, where it meant "to bet on every horse in a race except the favorite." It was transferred to other activities about 1930.
See also: field, play

play the field

If someone plays the field, they have many different romantic or sexual relationships. He gave up playing the field and married a year ago. Note: If gamblers play the field, they bet on all the horses in a race except the one that is considered most likely to win.
See also: field, play

play the field

indulge in a series of sexual relationships without committing yourself to anyone. informal
1936 L. Lefko Public Relations He hasn't any steady. He plays the field—blonde, brunette, or what have you.
See also: field, play

play the ˈfield

(informal) have romantic or sexual relationships with a lot of different people: He told me he didn’t want to get married yet because he was having too much fun playing the field.
See also: field, play

play the field

To date more than one person at the same time.
See also: field, play