Act the part of a villain; take the blame for unkind behavior. For example, She can’t bear firing an employee, so she relies on Jim to play the heavy. This colloquial term comes from the theater, where heavy has been used for a stern, serious role or that of a villain since the early 1800s.
- Play the market
Trade in securities in order to make money, as in He is always playing the market with only mixed results. This term uses play in the sense of “gamble,” a usage dating from about 1500.
- Play the ponies
verb phrase To bet on horse races (1908+)
noun 1. a form of psychotherapy used chiefly with children, in which patients act out situations in play that are expressive of their emotional problems, conflicts, etc. play therapy n. A form of psychotherapy used with children to help them express or act out their experiences, feelings, and problems by playing with dolls, toys, and […]
- Play the skin flute
verb phrase To do fellatio (1940s+)