play with (something)
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.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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
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.