play (someone) off against (someone)

(redirected from play them 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
The regime tries to play them off against each other.
However, he is secretly planning to play them off against each other to his own advantage.
One student who was in the meeting accused Bou Sb of bringing the students to play them off against the others at the protest.
Mantel steers them all [the characters] into and out of Cromwell's view, follows his canny assessments of how to play them off against one another and lays out the affronts for which they will later pay dearly." JANET MASLIN
The Parentals While I often wonder how they'd last a week without me to fill their otherwise empty lives, there is no doubting that my Mum and Dad love each other lots and lots, which makes it very hard for me to play them off against each other.
Be careful that this doesn't turn into an ego trip for you and don't play them off against each other - you could end up losing both of them as well as your reputation!
They (the agencies) play them off against each other.
And since most cities are using TIFs, businesses such as Cabela's can play them off against each other to boost the handouts they receive simply to operate profit-making enterprises.
Different travel agents will sell you the same tour operator's holidays so play them off against each other.
This has made it all the easier for Syria to play them off against each other.
Then he starts to play them off against each other.
5 COMPETITION: Never buy from the first retailer you visit and don't be afraid to play them off against each other.
Hafez Assad left behind an inflexible machine in near-perfect equilibrium, with members of the political and military elite, as well as the separate security and intelligence services, aligned in such a way that the president could play them off against one another.
This should make it fun, as you play them off against one another.
To find out more 0901 6093149 CAPRICORN (Dec 22/Jan 20): You have lots of admirers and it's fun to play them off against each other.