Play hard to get



Pretend to be inaccessible or uninterested; act coy, especially with the opposite sex. For example, I know he has no appointments tomorrow; he’s just playing hard to get, or Nicole is very popular, perhaps because she plays hard to get. [ Mid-1900s ]

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  • Play handies

    verb phrase To indulge in the mutual fondling of hands: Beneath the counter they were playing handies (1960s+)

  • Play hell with something

    verb phrase To damage or destroy: The rain had played hell with business/ Gloria played merry hell with the filing system [1803+; fr play hell and Tommy, attested in the mid-19th century and said to be fr earlier play Hal and Tommy, in reference to the behavior of Henry VIII and his minister Thomas Cromwell]



  • Play havoc

    Also, raise or wreak havoc . Disrupt, damage, or destroy something, as in The wind played havoc with her hair , or The fire alarm raised havoc with the children , or The earthquake wrought havoc in the town . The noun havoc was once used as a command for invaders to begin looting and […]

  • Play hide and seek

    Evade or seem to evade someone. For example, Bill is hard to pin down—he’s always playing hide and seek. This expression alludes to the children’s game in which one player tries to find others who are hiding. It has been used figuratively since the mid-1600s.



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