play (someone) off against (someone)

(redirected from play one off against)

play (someone) off against (someone)

To manipulate two opposing sides of an argument, conflict, competition, etc., against one another for one's own benefit or advantage. My father and my uncle are engaged in a bitter business rivalry. If I can play them off against each other, I might be able to secure some sizeable investments for my own company. Janet has been playing Mary off against her boyfriend, Mike, so that Janet can date him herself. Don't you see? They've been playing us off against each other so that there's less competition for them to deal with.
See also: off, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play someone off against (someone else)

to scheme in a manner that pits two of your adversaries against one another. Bill wanted to beat me up and so did Bob. I did some fast talking, and they ended up fighting with each other. I really played Bill off against Bob. The president played the House off against the Senate and ended up getting his own way.
See also: off, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
This instability has touched global markets, with lender banks now skittish to say nothing of the quivers in the geopolitical tectonics as Turkey sits between the US and Russia, that the Turkish PM has tried unwisely to play one off against another and signally failed.
And the United States and EU will have to find ways of ironing out their own differences if they are to avoid moves to play one off against the other and counter arguments put forward by a formidable new figure at the WTO negotiating table.
I didn't try and play one off against the other or anything like that," he continued.
If he doesn't back you, then the children will soon learn to play one off against the other.
"This statement by Obama addressed both the people and government and did not try to play one off against the other," said Parsi.
The Islamic Republic has tried repeatedly to separate the Europeans and Americans, and to play one off against the other.
What we cannot have is a system in which the user can go to any of the 27 or so authors' societies in the European Union to look for a licence and play one off against another.
My advice would be to ring round as many VW dealers as you can and play one off against the other, quoting the lowest price you've found elsewhere.
You have a lot of new admirers and it is going to be very easy for you to play one off against the other.
Or, alternatively, play one off against the other until you've got them fighting over you in the street, a-la Bridget Jones.
Compare their offers and play one off against the other.
Then the bookmakers can play one off against the other and drive the price down.
The Iraqi dictator has a history of hoodwinking the world's leaders and knows exactly how to play one off against the other to muddy any focus on his country.