play a trick on
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play a trick (on one)
1. To carry out a trick, deception, or practical joke (against one). It turns out that the supposed alien visitors that people had been seeing were just a bunch of teenagers playing tricks on the entire town. I've got a great plan to play a trick on the school for April Fools' Day. The fake article had been in print in the renowned scientific journal for more than a week before the author revealed that he was playing a trick when he decided to submit it.
2. Of one's sense organs, to present one with false or misleading information. I thought I saw someone looking at us through the window, but my eyes must have been playing a trick on me. A: "Did you say something to me?" B: "Nope. Your ears must be playing tricks on you."
play a trick on someoneand play a prank on someone
to do a trick that affects someone. Somebody played a trick on me by hiding my shoes. The little boys planned to play a trick on their teacher by turning up the heat in the classroom.