Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
play (something) out
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 run out. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.