Definition of play for time in English:

play for time


  • Use specious excuses or unnecessary manoeuvres to gain time.

    ‘he played for time by establishing an advisory committee’
    • ‘And he played for time, urging the U.S. to be patient.’
    • ‘Was there anything to be gained by playing for time, trying to learn more of what he might be facing?’
    • ‘Instead he reaches for his glass, hoping to play for time - and to get some courage from the wine.’
    • ‘De Lancourt played for time, telling his creditors that he was expecting a £1000 bank draft - any day.’
    • ‘I would urge Bolton Council to tell the developers to stop playing for time, get this through the planning committee once and for all, and reject this application in any form.’
    • ‘It is possible that investors who rejected its advances on Friday were merely playing for time given that there is a bid on the table, and maybe a higher one to follow.’
    • ‘They're playing for time and our position is they should not be allowed to do that.’
    • ‘The Government - pleading realpolitik, invoking the national interest and playing for time - seem to have pacified, at least on the surface, an angry public.’
    • ‘Many commentators believe the Government is simply playing for time.’
    • ‘They could opt to follow the tobacco industry and play for time, which you'd have to say has worked out very well for tobacco firms.’
    use delaying tactics, stall, temporize, gain time, hang back, hang fire, hold back, procrastinate, beat about the bush, drag one's feet, delay, filibuster, stonewall
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