Definition of playact in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Act in a play.

    • ‘But whatever you do, don't play-act like you're an air-headed, not-so-cerebral, mush-for-brains girl.’
    • ‘Was he simply play-acting, trying to keep expectations low so he would be underestimated?’
    • ‘What will follow is rather odd: I'll find myself spontaneously kind of play-acting, having a sort of two-way exchange where I'll say something and then respond to myself as that being.’
    • ‘The idea is that a player would not play-act because he would reduce his team to ten men while he is off the field waiting to be waved back on.’
    • ‘Benson had said he believed the children had been play-acting for the camera.’
    • ‘Did you think ‘my God, I and everyone else in this room are play-acting and in doing so are betraying our profession and holding the public in total contempt’?’
    • ‘She spends money loose and fast, but she also knows how to play-act.’
    • ‘Mrs Ritchie, not so much expressing herself, but play-acting.’
    • ‘You've lived some stuff I've only play-acted.’
    • ‘And when they make love near the beginning of the movie, they are play-acting.’
    • ‘Don't play-act being more tired than you are, or be mentally weak enough to give in before you have to, and then training and playing rugby is so simple.’
    • ‘He wore a bullet-proof vest and play-acted into a walkie-talkie saying ‘Roger’ and ‘Over’ to convince locals he was a genuine police officer.’
    • ‘That's what I wear when I'm play-acting as a magician, or I get into a suit when I have to make a deal I don't want to - like going to court.’
    • ‘But I was only play-acting to avoid embarrassment.’
    • ‘Bennie and Walter play-act in a repetitive chant, as Ruth embarrassingly answers the door to let in George Murchison.’
    • ‘There has never been a true bond between the two, beyond that of two children, play-acting.’
    • ‘More concretely, it became a film about the ability of women ‘to play-act, to fake.’’
    • ‘My kid's only 5, so it's a bit different for him, but he goes to regular sessions where he basically learns to play-act through a lot of imaginative and social situations.’
    • ‘Dodgson made a game of the sessions, so the girls may be play-acting; but the lens confers an inescapable awareness of separateness, bound up with seeing and being seen.’
    • ‘On top of this the Italians are genuinely entertaining: they cook pasta, sing, dance, argue passionately, flirt relentlessly and fall on the floor play-acting.’
    1. 1.1with object Act (a scene, role, etc.).
      • ‘One unfortunately tends to forget that Andie is play-acting dumb.’
      • ‘Yve, kindly lady that she is, came to rescue me - but all for naught, as she was swept up into the lively gavotte before she could play-act knight in shining armor.’
      • ‘Early in their lives, they often spend entire afternoons play-acting imaginary scenarios.’
      • ‘The two women, Ruth and Anna, have play-acted these characters over the years as a way of relieving tensions.’
      • ‘Once it is done you can force them to play-act The Next Generation with you.’
      • ‘Subsequently, the duke joins in on the masquerade, play-acting the threat of sexual violence against Zidler - a rehearsal for his actions later in the film.’
      • ‘He's the rich kid play-acting war, the symbol and not the substance of the soldier.’
      • ‘Someone would always be practising the harpsichord or the violin and there was much reading aloud, dressing-up and play-acting.’
      • ‘Yet, at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit just last week, it was difficult to imagine that this talented couple was only play-acting the romantic ambience that they were creating up there on the Bangkok stage.’
      • ‘He also appears to be a racist, which is the first tip-off that he's play-acting the grudge and must be up to something more meaningful in his plottings around camp.’
      • ‘Psychodrama is play-acting events during therapy and may include elements of enactment, role play, or make believe.’
      • ‘In ID4, Smith's partner (Harry Connick, Jr.) play-acts a marriage proposal to him in a locker room.’
      • ‘Girls are much more likely to play house, or to play-act their favorite stories or movies.’
      • ‘Like Madhur Jaffrey, some of them play-act Hindu stories or rituals, and young girls in particular may have real roles to perform as handmaidens of the Goddess in ceremonies associated with her worship.’
      • ‘With the next student, Bobby started play-acting devil's advocate, firing questions and posing hypothetical situations to him.’
      • ‘It is one thing to play-act the gender role of frightened female in a movie theater where the horror is only simulated, but do I want to perform that same gender construction in real life?’
      • ‘Here are two parties play-acting a phoney war - and wondering why voters yawn.’
      • ‘They will see the world differently and may not be so eager to play-act violence.’
      • ‘With the whole schoolgirl thing, the ‘doing-something-I-shouldn't be-doing’ aspect is what adds the charge, and at School Disco, people, men at least, can play-act this.’
      pretend, play-act, sham, fake, feign, put it on, bluff, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2usually as noun playacting Engage in histrionic pretense.
      ‘the defender indulged in some playacting after tumbling to the ground’
      • ‘Her bloodlessness functions at times as delicacy here, especially in the awkward courtship scenes, but her acting always seems like play-acting to me.’
      • ‘Movies are magic because they conjure powerful emotions from light, forms, sound, and play-acting.’
      • ‘Also had a couple of storming, skilful bursts up the park, although his penchant for play-acting rankled throughout and eventually earned him a booking.’
      • ‘Otherwise it's pretending, play-acting, not really living.’
      • ‘Not that anything's wrong with recreation that involves a little dress-up or play-acting, being a bit more like you want to be instead of (let's face it) who you know you are.’
      • ‘Again I suggest using play-acting because it helps them get into the situation and think things through.’
      • ‘It was play-acting, pure and simple, Borthwick declared.’
      • ‘They love, I suspect, exactly those things that make him problematic: his passion for play-acting, for drama over truth.’
      • ‘But something else, something quite profound, also arises out of this musical-chair play-acting: the sense that bodies are receptacles for all manner of life forces to pass through.’
      • ‘Celtic cannot hold a candle to their UEFA Cup semi-final opponents when it comes to the ‘by any means necessary’ approach that makes virtues of biting, scratching and play-acting.’
      • ‘Mentalizing is pervasive in everyday life, in communication and co-operation, in pedagogy, in play-acting, but also in deceiving, cheating, and outwitting.’
      • ‘Curtains around the lower bunk provide fodder for endless hours of peekaboo, play-acting, and fort-building.’
      • ‘The befuddled silliness might be genuine gold or it might be play-acting.’
      pretend, put it on, fake, sham, bluff, pose, posture, masquerade, make believe, act, play-act, go through the motions, put on a false display
      View synonyms