Definition of play up in English:

play up

phrasal verb

British
  • 1informal (of a child) misbehave.

    ‘I hadn't had much sleep – the kids had been playing up’
    misbehave, be misbehaved, behave badly, be bad, be naughty, be mischievous, get up to mischief, be disobedient, be awkward, cause trouble, give trouble, make trouble
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    1. 1.1 Fail to function properly.
      ‘his phone line was constantly playing up’
      • ‘My computer's been playing up a fair bit lately and this morning the screen just completely faded out.’
      • ‘However, if the Irishman's troublesome hamstring plays up, Reardon could be switched to his favoured right-wing spot.’
      • ‘It was just my thigh playing up again and they want me to play again next week.’
      • ‘The dishwasher's playing up, but it should be all right by the time we open.’
      • ‘The hamstring wasn't too bad but my knee was playing up a little bit.’
      • ‘Then our bathroom's ageing cistern started to play up, so I made a quick phone call to our reasonable and reliable plumber.’
      not work properly, be defective, be faulty, malfunction, act up, give trouble
      be painful, hurt, ache, be sore, cause pain, cause discomfort, cause trouble, annoy
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  • 2Put all one's energy into a game.

    ‘the captain told his team to play up’
    • ‘Insofar as basketball is concerned, if he is already playing up, teach him the game as you would the older players.’