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1. To do something to completion; to conclude or finish (something). She was determined to play out the game, even though she could barely see out of her right eye. It's anyone's guess who will win at this point. We'll just have to see how the election plays out.
2. To use something until it is finished or has become depleted. Typically used in a passive construction. Be sure to pace yourself, or your energy will be played out before you come close to finishing the race.
3. To slacken and extend a line, as of rope or wire that has been coiled up. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "play" and "out." Would you mind playing the twine out so I can lash the tree to the hood of my car? Make sure you play out enough rope for us to moor the boat.
No longer relevant, interesting, or exciting, especially due to being overdone or overexposed. It was cute at first, but that whole "quirky nerd" vibe you're going for is totally played out at this point. That song was played out two years ago—why is it still on the radio?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
too exhausted to continue. At the end of the race, Donna was played out. After the race, we were played out for the rest of the day.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. See play out.
2. Exhausted, worn out, as in This was the third trip the mules had made, and they were utterly played out. [Mid-1800s]
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.