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play games (with one)
To deliberately attempt to evade, deceive, or misinform one (about something) in order to manipulate them or achieve some desired outcome. Quit playing games, Karen—I know that you're involved in this deal! The serial killer is playing games with the police, leaving false clues everywhere to muddy the investigation.
play games (with someone)
Fig. to use clever strategies against someone. Come on! Stop playing games with me. Let's talk this over.
Be evasive or deceptive, as in Don't play games with me-I want an honest answer. Also see play the game.
COMMON If someone plays games, they are dishonest about what they know or intend to do in order to gain an advantage. Don't play games, Mona. I know about the theft, and I know that you know about it. I repeat: why are you here? Her trouble was that she enjoyed being devious, liked playing games just to see what would happen.
play gamesdeal with someone or something in a way that lacks due seriousness or respect or deviates from the truth.
2000 Mike Gayle Turning Thirty I couldn't stand him at first. I'd have a conversation with him and would come away feeling like he was playing games with me.
play (silly) ˈgames (with somebody)not treat a situation seriously, especially in order to cheat or deceive somebody: Don’t play silly games with me; I know you did it.
To be evasive or deceptive: Quit playing games and tell me what you want.