Meaning of play for time in English:

play for time

See synonyms for play for time


  • Use specious excuses or unnecessary manoeuvres to gain time.

    ‘he played for time by establishing an advisory committee’
    • ‘Was there anything to be gained by playing for time, trying to learn more of what he might be facing?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many commentators believe the Government is simply playing for time.’
    • ‘And he played for time, urging the U.S. to be patient.’
    • ‘De Lancourt played for time, telling his creditors that he was expecting a £1000 bank draft - any day.’
    • ‘Instead he reaches for his glass, hoping to play for time - and to get some courage from the wine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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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