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Play Up

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb play up:


Definition of the verb play up

What does play up mean as a doing phrase?


  1. move into the foreground to make more visible or prominent
  2. ingratiate oneself to; often with insincere behavior

Alternative definition of the verb play up


  1. [British, idiomatic] To misbehave
  2. [idiomatic] To make or attempt to make something appear more important, likely or obvious; to showcase or highlight

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Play Up

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Google previewRajpal Dictionary Of English Idioms & Phrases (2010)

by Shori, A K

grade * Students, who play truant, cannot give good performance in the examination Play up: Strike up; begin the music; redouble one's effort, play more vigorously; show up well in crisis; cause somebody problems or pain; make something ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Numeral Words, by which All Difficulty in the Remembrance of Figures is Removed (1829)

With an Explanation of the Plan by William Henry Crook (LL.D.)

Play up. Pile your. Plait. Quell. Plume.

Google previewDictionary of Idiomatic English Phrases (1891)

by James Main Dixon

To play up to anotlwr — to accommodate oneself to another's peculiarities so as to gain some advantage. F. There is your playing up toady, who, unconscious to its feeder, is always playing up to its feeder's weaknesses. — BkaCoksfield.

Google preview英語常用詞組用法詞典 (2003)

by Rosalind Fergusson

to play up l.

Google previewInternational Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (2004)

by Peter Hunt

Play up and Play ...

Google previewThe Doubleday Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form (2009)

by Sidney L. Landau

stress, emphasize, play up, underline, call attention to, praise. player n.

Google previewThe Dickson Baseball Dictionary (Third Edition) (2011)

by Paul Dickson

play up to the handle hist. To play excellently; to play up to expectations. “Brooklyn's boys have not been doing any ...

Google previewThe Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus (2002)

by Elizabeth Jewell

play up to flatter, esp. to win favor. play with fire take foolish risks. playea•ble adj. play•a•bilei•ty n. 1⁄2 v. 1 frolic, caper, sport, have fun.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Play Up

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play up

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See also the pronunciation examples of Play Up!

Quotes about Play Up

Leaders are not pale reflectors of major social conflicts; they play up some, play down others, ignore still others. (James MacGregor Burns)
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