1. A very detailed, granular description and analysis of some sporting event or a portion thereof. And now we go to our senior sports analyst, Ty Johnson, for a play-by-play of tonight's game. Joining me for a play-by-play description of the first half is two-time Super Bowl champion Doug Douglas.
2. By extension, a very detailed, thorough depiction of some event as each moment unfolded in real time. I don't need a play-by-play of how the meeting went—just give me a quick rundown. I'm dying to hear about your date last night. Give me a play-by-play description!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a description of an event given as the event is taking place. (Usually in reference to a sporting event.) And now here is Bill Jones with a play-by-play description of the baseball game. John was giving me a play-by-play description of the argument going on next door.
See also: description
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.