What's (someone) playing at?

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What's (someone) playing at?

What is someone's agenda? What is someone's ulterior motive? I can't figure out why Janet is suddenly volunteering for the position she said she would never do. What's she playing at? Why are you trying to date my sister? What are you playing at?
See also: play

what’s somebody ˈplaying at?

used to ask in an angry way about what somebody is doing: What do you think you’re playing at?
See also: play, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Dean was found lying unconscious in a communal corridor as Timney shouted: "What's he playing at?" His former partner thought Mr Dean, who had epilepsy, had suffered a seizure and called 999 just after 6.15pm.
"What's he playing at? What if he has a really good feckin' look at everything.
What's he playing at? It's messing me up mentally as I prepare for another termination and possibly cancer treatment.
I mean, what's he playing at?," jokes Dermot Keely, Doolin's former team-mate and current manager at Shels.
What's he playing at? Should Celtic welcome him back with open arms or is it time they bounced the big kangaroo?