play (someone) off against (someone)

(redirected from playing one 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 ?
Mr Kingsley added: "He was in a relationship with somebody else and playing one off against the other.
Darren Price Stop playing one off against the other and let's have success in both football and rugby!
And creative teams quickly work out which of their two ultimate arbiters is the more likely to smile on their work and much enjoy playing one off against the other.
Judge Tim Gittins said it may have been the case that the man at the centre of the row was "playing one off against the other".
Just 10 years ago, shopping around meant traipsing between high-street retailers, often playing one off against the other, but online retail has totally transformed the concept.
It's not a case of playing one off against another and I never want to be that type of coach.
And I don't see that Mercosur is playing one off against the other.
Ronaldinho continues to play cat and mouse with United and Barcelona, playing one off against the other as his wage demands spiral - they are now in the region of pounds 60,000 a week.
They seem to be playing one off against the other and I am not at all convinced by the council's argument that the people facing these extra charges can afford them."
Can you imagine how much power this would give to Blair and his crowd, playing one off against the other.
And yesterday Mr Blunkett, in a clear warning to Ms Short and Mr Cook, said: 'This Government over the last five and a half years has avoided playing one off against another the game of Cabinet Ministers saying that it had nothing to do with them.