English version

play somebody off against somebody

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishplay somebody off against somebody phrasal verbARGUEto encourage one person or group to compete or argue with another, in order to get some advantage for yourself The house seller may try to play one buyer off against another, to raise the price. play→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
play off against Airlines usually negotiate privately with manufacturers, playing one off against another, of course.The highly paid, like the corporations that employ them, are mobile, and can play one state off against another.When mining companies and other investors rushed to Kinshasa to seek deals, he tried to play them off against each other.The child may gravitate to the parent that is easier to manipulate or try to play one parent off against the other.You need to present a united front and avoid taking sides or playing one child off against the other.
Pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
Click on the pictures to check.
Verb table
play
Simple Form
Present
I, you, we, theyplay
he, she, itplays
> View More
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
> View Less
Continuous Form
Present
Iam playing
he, she, itis playing
> View More
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
> View Less