To play upon

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. 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.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • play upon words — play on words or play upon words noun A pun or other manipulation of words depending on their sound • • • Main Entry: ↑play * * * play on words or play upon words, = pun. (Cf. ↑pun) …   Useful english dictionary

  • play\ upon — • play (up)on v 1. To cause an effect on; influence. A heavy diet of television drama played on his feelings. 2. To work upon for a planned effect; excite to a desired action by cunning plans; manage. The makeup salesman played on the woman s… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • play upon — see ↑play on above. • • • Main Entry: ↑play …   Useful english dictionary

  • play upon — index dupe Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • play upon words — index distort Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • play upon — PHRASAL VERB To play upon something means the same as to play on it. [FORMAL] …   English dictionary

  • play upon something — ˈplay on/upon sth derived to take advantage of sb s feelings, etc. Syn: ↑exploit • Advertisements often play on people s fears. Main entry: ↑playderived …   Useful english dictionary

  • play upon — See: PLAY ON …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • play upon — See: PLAY ON …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • play upon — See play on …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • play upon — (smth) cause an effect on, influence They played on his feelings of loneliness to get him to come and buy them dinner every night …   Idioms and examples

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