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Play, vb. 1) to sport, to do anything not as a task, but for pleasure: “my curtal dog, that wont to have --ed, --s not at all,” Pilgr. 273. “he will shoot no more, but p. with sparrows,” Tp. IV, 100. “let the boys leave to p.” Wiv. IV, 1, 12. Wiv. IV, 1, 12 LLL V, 2, 235. As I, 3, 76. Wint. I, 2, 187. H4A I, 2, 228. Hml. III, 2, 283. Oth. II, 1, 116. Ant. V, 2, 232. Ant. V, 2, 232 Per. II, 1, 34 etc. Applied to fencing: “--ing at sword and dagger,” Wiv. I, 1, 294. “to p. with him,” Hml. IV, 7, 106. V, 2, 206. V, 2, 206
2) to toy, to dally: “be bold to p., our sport is not in sight,” Ven. 124. “the wind would p. with his locks,” Ven. 124 “her hair --ed with her breath,” Lucr. 400. “the canker-blooms p. as wantonly,” Sonn. 54, 7. “as with your shadow I with these did p.” 98, 14. “a blossom --ing in the wanton air,” Pilgr. 230 and LLL IV, 3, 104. “when she will p. with reason and discourse,” Meas. I, 2, 190. “as the waving sedges p. with wind,” Shr. Ind. 2, 55. “lust doth p. with what it loathes,” All's IV, 4, 24. “p. with some rich jewel,” Tw. II, 5, 66. “a bank for love to lie and p. on,” Wint. IV, 4, 130. “--s fondly with her tears and smiles,” R2 III, 2, 9. “p. with flowers,” H5 II, 3, 15. “my master rather --ed than fought,” Cymb. I, 1, 162 etc.
3) to make sport, to practise merriment or illusion: “a very trick for them to p. at will,” Wint. II, 1, 52. With on or upon: “how every fool can p. upon the word,” Merch. III, 5, 48. “the most notorious geck and gull that e'er invention --ed on,” Tw. V, 352. “I'ld p. incessantly upon these jades,” John II, 385 (i. e. fire upon them). “is it fantasy that --s upon our eyesight?” H4A V, 4, 138. “whom both the waters and the wind, in that vast tennis-court, have made the ball for them to p. upon,” Per. II, 1, 65. cf. Hml. III, 2, 380. Hml. III, 2, 380 Followed by with: “p. with all virgins so,” Meas. I, 4, 33. “so p. the foolish throngs with one that swoons,” II, 4, 24. “can sick men p. so nicely with their names?” R2 II, 1, 84. p. with your fancies, and behold . . . ., H5 III Prol. 7. “p. and trifle with your reverence,” Oth. I, 1, 133. “who with half the bulk o' the world --ed as I pleased,” Ant. III, 11, 64. “do not p. with that which is so serious,” Cymb. IV, 2, 230 etc.
4) to move irregularly, to wanton, to dangle, to hover (cf. Sonn. 54, 7. Pilgr. 230): “fortune p. upon thy prosperous helm, as thy auspicious mistress,” All's III, 3, 7; cf. “victory, with little loss, doth p. upon the dancing banners of the French,” John II, 307. “whiles warm life --s in that infant's veins,” III, 4, 132. “and bid you p. it off,” H4A II, 4, 18 (== toss it off). “as --s the sun upon the glassy streams,” H6A V, 3, 62. “the cap --s in the right hand, thus,” Tim. II, 1, 19. “those happy smilets that --ed on her ripe lip,” Lr. IV, 3, 22.
5) to perform on an instrument of music, to make music: “Pluto winks while Orpheus --s,” Lucr. 553. “he --s false. How, out of tune?” Gent. IV, 2, 59. “p., music,” Ado V, 4, 123. LLL V, 2, 211. LLL V, 2, 211 As V, 4, 184. Shr. III, 1, 22. III, 2, 185. Tw. I, 1, 1 etc. “I will p. on the tabor,” LLL V, 1, 160. Mids. II, 1, 67. V, 122. Tw. I, 3, 26. H4B Ind. Tw. I, 3, 26 H6A I, 4, 96. Hml. III, 2, 366. Hml. III, 2, 366 Hml. III, 2, 366 Per. I, 1, 84 etc. Transitively: “when thou music --est,” Sonn. 128, 1. “the tune of our catch, --ed by the picture of Nobody,” Tp. III, 2, 135. Gent. IV, 2, 70. As IV, 3, 68. Caes. IV, 3, 269 etc.
6) to contend in a game, for pleasure or for gain: “you p. me false,” Tp. V, 172. p. with Mardian (at billiards) Ant. II, 5, 4. Followed by at: “Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,” LLL IV, 3, 169. “when he --s at tables,” V, 2, 326. “if Hercules and Lichas p. at dice,” Merch. II, 1, 32. Tw. II, 5, 207. III, 4, 129. R2 III, 4, 3. H4B II, 4, 266. H5 IV Chor. H5 IV Chor. IV, 5, 8. Troil. IV, 4, 89. Tim. I, 2, 12. Hml. V, 1, 100. Ant. II, 3, 25 etc. With for: “when lenity and cruelty p. for a kingdom,” H5 III, 6, 119. IV, 5, 8. Rom. III, 2, 13. Transitively; a) the game being the object: “p. some heavenly match,” Merch. III, 5, 84. “a game --ed home,” Wint. I, 2, 248. “play fast and loose with faith,” John III, 1, 242. “you have --ed your prize,” Tit. I, 399. “a match,” Rom. III, 2, 13. Hml. V, 2, 264. Hml. V, 2, 264 b) The gain or prize the object: “we'll p. with them the first boy for a thousand ducats,” Merch. III, 2, 216. “shall I p. my freedom at tray-trip?” Tw. II, 5, 207. “the French do the low-rated English p. at dice,” H5 IV Chor. H5 IV Chor. “and false --ed my glory unto an enemy's triumph,” Ant. IV, 14, 19.
Metaphorically, == to act: “you p. me false,” Tp. V, 172. “he --s false,” Gent. IV, 2, 59. “my mother --ed my father fair,” Meas. III, 1, 141. “if thou p. false,” Err. II, 2, 144. Merch. I, 2, 48. John I, 118. H6B III, 1, 184. Mcb. I, 5, 22. “thou --'dst most foully for it,” III, 1, 3. Transitively: “--ed some tricks of desperation,” Tp. I, 2, 209. “--s such fantastic tricks,” Meas. II, 2, 121. “--ed foul play with our oaths,” LLL V, 2, 766.
7) to act on the stage: “fit to p. in our interlude,” Mids. I, 2, 5. As II, 7, 139. Hml. III, 2, 104. Transitively: “p. the mother's part,” Sonn. 143, 12. “this part he --ed,” Tp. I, 2, 107. “when all our pageants were --ed,” Gent. IV, 4, 164. Gent. IV, 4, 164 LLL V, 1, 150. Mids. I, 2, 31. Mids. I, 2, 31 III, 1, 53. IV, 2, 22. H4A II, 4, 531 (p. out the play). Hml. III, 2, 93. Per. IV, 4, 48 etc.
Hence == to act, to represent in general, to be, to prove: “those hours . . . . will p. the tyrants to the very same,” Sonn. 5, 3. “mine eye hath --ed the painter,” 24, 1. “to p. the watchman,” 61, 12. “p. the men,” Tp. I, 1, 11.* “your fairy has --ed the Jack with us,” IV, 197. “I have --ed the sheep in losing him,” Gent. I, 1, 73. IV, 2, 72. IV, 4, 1. Wiv. V, 1, 27. Meas. III, 2, 207. Err. II, 2, 213. LLL II, 74. Merch. II, 3, 12. III, 2, 121. Tw. I, 5, 196. III, 1, 67. John II, 135. H4A V, 1, 4. R3 IV, 2, 8 etc. etc.
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