Definition of fair play in English:

fair play


mass noun
  • Respect for the rules or equal treatment of all concerned.

    ‘he's a player recognized for his sense of fair play’
    ‘they were demanding fair play in the allocation of housing and jobs’
    • ‘You stand up for professional values, fair play and justice during a controversy.’
    • ‘Contrary to what we are led to believe, then, chivalry and a sense of fair play is not a purely western trait.’
    • ‘But it is certainly my call to defend good sense and fair play in public life.’
    • ‘Behind it all there was a sense of decency and fair play and an underlying kindness and compassion.’
    • ‘In the interests of fair play we just need to put you right about a few things before you actually go offending anyone.’
    • ‘The debate on terror is a serious one and it needs adult contributions and a commitment to fair play and respect from all involved.’
    • ‘His integrity and sense of fair play extend even to his adversaries.’
    • ‘He had a great sense of justice and fair play and this was so evident on the football field.’
    • ‘So I made my way to our meeting ready to hammer them down, but my sense of fair play niggled at me.’
    • ‘We need to be concerned about the precedent here, and how it affects the rules of democratic fair play.’
    • ‘Rules of fair play in men's college basketball may not be what they appear on the surface.’
    • ‘This, Sir David said, will conform to the principles of democracy, openness and fair play.’
    • ‘This is absurd and stands in contradiction to the universal principle of fair play.’
    • ‘She was a woman of good nature, generosity and with an inherent sense of fair play.’
    • ‘His sense of fair play was epitomised when, during a match in Italy, he refused to score an easy goal after the goalkeeper was injured.’
    • ‘The rules of fair play must be observed by the minister in allocating the entitlements.’
    • ‘Ian's talk will emphasise the importance of honesty and fair play in all aspects of political and social life.’
    • ‘He said he was a socialist who believed in justice, fair play and equity and was proud of this.’
    • ‘He was a man of honesty and integrity and would give fair play to all sides.’
    • ‘You stand up for justice, fair play and rights and gain respect and admiration of those around you.’
    justice, justness, fair-mindedness, equity, equitableness, even-handedness, impartiality, lack of prejudice, open-mindedness
    View synonyms


  • fair play to someone

    • Used as an expression of approval when someone has done something praiseworthy or the right thing under the circumstances.

      ‘he must have decided to bring the children up himself—fair play to him’
      • ‘But fair play to him, he kept his cool, he didn't get rattled and he played on.’
      • ‘Those boys were pushing hard and fair play to them.’
      • ‘Obviously there are terminal patients who are comfortable and want to make the best of their final years, so fair play to them.’
      • ‘I'm normally fairly civil to them - I wouldn't fancy facing the sheer amount of abuse and rudeness they face, so fair play to them.’
      • ‘I felt if we scored first the pressure might get to Inveraray, but fair play to them, they scored in the opening minute.’
      • ‘Good luck to them, and fair play to them for staying around to applaud the Knights as they lifted the trophy.’
      • ‘If I run well and they run better, then fair play to them.’
      • ‘He promised he would send a team and, fair play to him, he has kept his promise.’
      • ‘These writers believe wholeheartedly in what they are writing - and fair play to them - but it does mean that there is no animating tension to make their stories interesting.’
      • ‘He handled it all really well, fair play to him.’


fair play

/ˌfɛː ˈpleɪ/