play with

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Related to play with: play with fire

play (something) with (one)

1. To play a game or engage in a sport with one. I grew up playing board games with my family, so I've always had a fondness for them. Do you want to go play basketball with me later?
2. To act or assume a role or persona with someone. Samantha has a reputation of playing the fool with our teacher. I know you want to play the hero with your employees, but don't promise them things you can't deliver.
See also: play

play with (one)

1. Literally, to engage in play alongside or in tandem with one. Why don't you go outside and play with your brother? No one wants to play with me. Everyone's too busy.
2. To tease, fool, or joke with one. I'm just playing with you, Tom—I'm not upset at all! I thought you were being serious—don't play with me like that!
3. To deliberately attempt to evade, deceive, or misinform one (about something) in order to manipulate them or achieve some desired outcome. Quit playing with me, Karen—I know that you're involved in this deal! The serial killer is playing with the police, leaving false clues everywhere to muddy the investigation.
See also: play

play with (oneself)

1. euphemism To masturbate. My mother always used to say you'll go blind if you play with yourself.
2. To touch or fondle one's genitals. Get your hands out of your pants and stop playing with yourself!
See also: play

play with (something)

1. Literally, to use an object as a toy. Billy's in the other room playing with his blocks. I don't think you should let your kids play with smartphones at such a young age.
2. To idly or distractedly fiddle with or manipulate something. She just sat there playing with bits of paper while we tried to explain what she'd done wrong. Quit playing with that paperclip and pay attention!
3. To test or experiment with something. I've been playing with designs for my company logo—which one do you like best? We're playing with a few different solutions to the problem.
See also: play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play something with someone or something

1. to play a game with someone or a group. Do you want to play checkers with me? Fran played ball with the dog for a while.
2. to assume a particular role with someone or some group. Don't play the fool with me! Don always tried to play the successful entrepreneur with the board of directors.
See also: play

play with someone or something

1. to play games with someone or a group. I love to play Ping-Pong. Will you play with me? They won't play with our team. We are too good.
2. to toy with someone or something. You are just playing with me. Can't you take me seriously? Please don't play with that crystal vase.
See also: play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play with

1. To engage in a sport, game, or other recreation with someone: I played chess with my brother until midnight.
2. To amuse or distract oneself by manipulating something: He sat playing with a rubber band throughout the lecture.
3. To jest with someone: I was just playing with you when I said I was angry.
4. To tamper with something: Someone played with my computer while I was gone.
5. To treat something casually or without seriousness; flirt with something: She played with the idea of going back to college.
6. To experiment with something: He played with many different hairstyles before choosing one he liked.
7. To manipulate or arrange something in a skillful manner: I like the way your poem plays with language.
See also: play
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.

play with (oneself)

Vulgar Slang
To masturbate.
See also: 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 periodicals archive ?
Bond has had similar experiences but he and others note that the white people they do race play with are not racists.
Counselor: You can play with the toys in as many ways as you like.
("Heading" is using the head to strike or make a play with the ball.)
Yet what makes The Purple Flower particularly useful as a teaching tool and particularly powerful in performance is Bonner's deliberate solicitation of debate, nowhere more evident than in her decision to end the play with a question.
Four-year-olds, for example, often like to play with materials that are realistic models of objects in their environment.
Linking play with discovery was developed through activities such as browsing materials, watching television, and speaking with colleagues.
I've had to close down a number of productions that tried to do that play with four men.
The therapist does not actively play with the child, but rather participates as an observer, encourager, and reflector of feelings (Axline, 1948; Landreth, 1991).
Play bouts among mammals often start with a formal invitation or "play signal." Like a karate master before a match, a puppy invites play with a "play bow," by kneeling forward on its forepaws.
I am always impressed by how beautifully the poets can play with their words.
Other times it means we have to play with a little more speed and up-tempo.
This analysis of disguise focuses Weimann's argument acutely, for he shows us how fixity and flux, representation and protean play can co-exist and even be mutually empowering: "the representation of socially and sexually fixed roles is subjugated to a bewildering volatility....Still, this supreme play with gendered difference does not quite surrender the representational design of character" (97).
One possibility is to see if they can program computers to learn, just as human players improve their play with experience and study.
Claude Purdy heard this series of poems and told me, "You should write a play with that character." I started thinking, and came up with the idea of a multi-cultural satire on American society.
Eventually, I got to the point I could play with a trio or as a soloist with confidence.