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1. To do something to completion; to conclude or finish (something). She was determined to play out the game, even though she could barely see out of her right eye. It's anyone's guess who will win at this point. We'll just have to see how the election plays out.
2. To use something until it is finished or has become depleted. Typically used in a passive construction. Be sure to pace yourself, or your energy will be played out before you come close to finishing the race.
3. To slacken and extend a line, as of rope or wire that has been coiled up. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "play" and "out." Would you mind playing the twine out so I can lash the tree to the hood of my car? Make sure you play out enough rope for us to moor the boat.
No longer relevant, interesting, or exciting, especially due to being overdone or overexposed. It was cute at first, but that whole "quirky nerd" vibe you're going for is totally played out at this point. That song was played out two years ago—why is it still on the radio?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
play something out
1. to play something, such as a game, to the very end. I was bored with the game, but I felt I had to play it out. She played out the rest of the game.
2. to unwind, unfold, or unreel something. (See also pay something out.) Please play some more rope out. They played out many feet of cable.
[for a process] to run out; to finish. The whole incident is about to play out. Then it all will be forgotten. When the event plays out, everything will return to normal.
too exhausted to continue. At the end of the race, Donna was played out. After the race, we were played out for the rest of the day.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Finish, run out, as in This extreme fashion will soon play out, or The tension between factions will surely play itself out by next year. [Late 1500s]
2. Unwind, unreel, as in They slowly played out the cable. Also see played out.
1. See play out.
2. Exhausted, worn out, as in This was the third trip the mules had made, and they were utterly played out. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To use something until there is none left; use up something: The boxer's strength was played out early in the match.
2. To proceed through a course of progression or development. Used of situations: We'll have to see how the situation in my office plays out before we know whether we can take a vacation.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.