play the devil with (something)

(redirected from play the devil)

play the devil with (something)

To ruin or cause serious damage to something; to greatly upset, disrupt, or negatively affect something. Lack of oversight allowed overzealous investment bankers to play the devil with the economy. I love wine, but it plays the devil with my stomach!
See also: devil, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play the devil with something

Fig. to cause disruption with something; to foul something up. Your being late really played the devil with my plans for the day. This weather is really playing the devil with my arthritis.
See also: devil, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play the devil with

Upset, ruin, make a mess of, as in This weather plays the devil with my aching joints, or Wine stains play the devil with a white tablecloth. This allusion to diabolical mischief is heard more in Britain than in America. [Mid-1500s] Also see the synonym play havoc.
See also: devil, play
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.

play the devil (or Old Harry) with

damage or affect greatly.
Old Harry has been a nickname for the devil in northern England since the 18th century.
See also: devil, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play the devil with someone/something

McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

play the devil with

To upset or ruin.
See also: devil, play
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Somebody must tell her what has happened--or she'll play the devil, and the whole business will burst up.
"Well," began Jean Frollo once more," we must play the devil with them."*
I assure you I intend to play the devil's game to-night."
And he often found himself waiting with anticipation for the dreamy time to pass when he could cross the Slot and cut loose and play the devil. He was not wicked, but as "Big" Bill Totts he did a myriad things that Freddie Drummond would never have been permitted to do.
I've only just waked up, and he'd play the devil's tattoo on me if he knew the letter hadn't gone.
Directors participating in the upcoming season include DeMane Davis ( Lift ), Patricia Cardoso ( Real Women Have Curves ), Shaz Bennett ( Alaska Is a Drag ), Maria Govan ( Play the Devil ) and Lauren Wolkstein ( The Strange Ones ).
8IS MANY top movie stars have gone through hell for the chance to play the Devil. Tim Curry was unrecognisable as the horned bad guy in the 1985 Tom Cruise film Legend, Ciaran Hinds took on the role in Ghost Rider Spirit Of Vengeance while Harvey Keitel played it for laughs with Adam Sandler in the 2000 comedy Little Nicky.
"Our name comes from our hometown's patron, the virgin of Guadalupe, so she protects us as we play the devil's music.
Fans of Ruddy's work will fondly remember her classic take on a Cypriot psychotic mother called Athenoulla in her 2012 play The Devil wears Primark, and her Edinburgh Festival award-winning creation titled Sex Chips and Ouzo which has now been elevated to the screenplay stage.
Shakespeare had Richard say that he would "seem a saint, when most I play the devil".
National Theatre Wales' version of John Osborne's first play The Devil Inside Him at the New Theatre, Cardiff.
Indeed, the company's 150-seat space promises an intimate experience of the work, with Stravinsky's score rendered by just four musicians and a cast that includes Muriel, the puppet soldier, one actor to narrate and another to play the devil. "It's kind of a mash-up of fairy tales," Ross says of the script by Swiss writer C.F Ramuz, which tells of a soldier making a deal with the devil, trading his fiddle for a book of knowledge.
Well that's exactly what you get when you hire Al Pacino to play the Devil, as this ludicrous 1997 film shows.
We got talking about the suffragette racket and the Englishmen seemed to be afraid that the women would get votes and "play the devil" over there with politics.
"I play the Devil Queen and I'm a 2,000-year-old wife," says Toyah.