To play into a person's hands

To play into a person's hands
Play Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Played}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Playing}.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, G. pflegen; of unknown origin. [root]28. Cf. {Plight}, n.] 1. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot. [1913 Webster]

As Cannace was playing in her walk. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play! --Pope. [1913 Webster]

And some, the darlings of their Lord, Play smiling with the flame and sword. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

2. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless. [1913 Webster]

``Nay,'' quod this monk, ``I have no lust to pleye.'' --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W. Temple. [1913 Webster]

3. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes. [1913 Webster]

4. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute. [1913 Webster]

One that . . . can play well on an instrument. --Ezek. xxxiii. 32. [1913 Webster]

Play, my friend, and charm the charmer. --Granville. [1913 Webster]

5. To act; to behave; to practice deception. [1913 Webster]

His mother played false with a smith. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays. [1913 Webster]

The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs play. --Cheyne. [1913 Webster]

7. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport. [1913 Webster]

Even as the waving sedges play with wind. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

The setting sun Plays on their shining arms and burnished helmets. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

All fame is foreign but of true desert, Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

8. To act on the stage; to personate a character. [1913 Webster]

A lord will hear your play to-night. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Courts are theaters where some men play. --Donne. [1913 Webster]

{To play into a person's hands}, to act, or to manage matters, to his advantage or benefit.

{To play off}, to affect; to feign; to practice artifice.

{To play upon}. (a) To make sport of; to deceive. [1913 Webster]

Art thou alive? Or is it fantasy that plays upon our eyesight. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) To use in a droll manner; to give a droll expression or application to; as, to play upon words. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • play into the hands of someone — play into the hands of (someone) to give someone an advantage. If this information is made public, it will play into the hands of people who are demanding an investigation of the police. Usage notes: usually an advantage one person believes… …   New idioms dictionary

  • play into the hands of — (someone) to give someone an advantage. If this information is made public, it will play into the hands of people who are demanding an investigation of the police. Usage notes: usually an advantage one person believes another should not have …   New idioms dictionary

  • Play — Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Played}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Playing}.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, G.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • play — v. & n. v. 1 intr. (often foll. by with) occupy or amuse oneself pleasantly with some recreation, game, exercise, etc. 2 intr. (foll. by with) act light heartedly or flippantly (with feelings etc.). 3 tr. a perform on or be able to perform on (a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • play into one's hands — {v. phr.} To be or do something that another person can use against you; help an opponent against yourself. * /In the basketball game, Jerry s foul played into the opponents hands./ * /Mary and Bobby both wanted the last piece of cake, but Bobby… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • play into one's hands — {v. phr.} To be or do something that another person can use against you; help an opponent against yourself. * /In the basketball game, Jerry s foul played into the opponents hands./ * /Mary and Bobby both wanted the last piece of cake, but Bobby… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • play\ into\ one's\ hands — v. phr. To be or do something that another person can use against you; help an opponent against yourself. In the basketball game, Jerry s foul played into the opponents hands. Mary and Bobby both wanted the last piece of cake, but Bobby played… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • To play off — Play Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Played}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Playing}.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, G.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To play upon — Play Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Played}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Playing}.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, G.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • play — [plā] vi. [ME plein < OE plegan, to play, be active] 1. to move lightly, rapidly, or erratically; flutter [sunlight playing on the waves] 2. to amuse oneself, as by taking part in a game or sport; engage in recreation 3. to take active part in …   English World dictionary

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