English version

play at something

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishplay at something phrasal verb1 What is somebody playing at?DO British English spoken used when you do not understand what someone is doing or why they are doing it, and you are surprised or annoyed What do you think you’re playing at?2 DO BADLYif you play at doing something, you do not do it properly or seriouslyplay at doing something He’s still playing at being an artist.3 PRETEND British English if children play at doctors, soldiers etc, they pretend to be doctors, soldiers etcplay at being something a 14-year-old playing at being a grown woman play→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
play at But most nights, he gets only a few minutes, or may not play at all.Deciding whether home-school students could choose to play at any public school or only the one in their attendance district.By the time they finally play at home, everyone else will have long since had their home openers.Darlington ladies held Boston well away from home and on the two rinks who played at the Morrison Centre.Craig, who started in John Osborne plays at the Royal Court, reminds us what an excellent actor she is.He had to learn his words, of course - perhaps for six different plays at the same time.The limp tunes appear to be played at the wrong speed, stretching them out until they become transparent and meaningless.It also gave Catholic a chance for its first bus ride to a game when it plays at Widener.play at doing somethingBut most nights, he gets only a few minutes, or may not play at all.By the time they finally play at home, everyone else will have long since had their home openers.Craig, who started in John Osborne plays at the Royal Court, reminds us what an excellent actor she is.Darlington ladies held Boston well away from home and on the two rinks who played at the Morrison Centre.Deciding whether home-school students could choose to play at any public school or only the one in their attendance district.He had to learn his words, of course - perhaps for six different plays at the same time.It also gave Catholic a chance for its first bus ride to a game when it plays at Widener.The limp tunes appear to be played at the wrong speed, stretching them out until they become transparent and meaningless.play at being somethingHis attitude said he was letting her play at being a psychiatrist to please his godfather.I liked to play at being bright.What if I said they were just playing at being drop-outs?Massless electron neutrinos playing at being heavy tau neutrinos might help solve either or both.She made him feel like an insect playing at being human.They can play at being still waters that run deep.He has always played at being the happiest guy on earth, because he learned that the first trade is the hardest.
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Verb table
play
Simple Form
Present
I, you, we, theyplay
he, she, itplays
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Past
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyplayed
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave played
he, she, ithas played
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad played
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill play
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have played
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Continuous Form
Present
Iam playing
he, she, itis playing
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you, we, theyare playing
Past
I, he, she, itwas playing
you, we, theywere playing
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave been playing
he, she, ithas been playing
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad been playing
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill be playing
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have been playing
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