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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 

Alphabetical List of Idioms P, page 7

Idioms P, page 7:  from:   'plastic smile'   to:   'play into someone's hands'

  • plastic smile
    • A person with a plastic smile is wearing a forced smile which makes them appear happier that they really are.
      "A receptionist greeted customers with a plastic smile."

  • a lot on your plate
    • If someone has a lot on their plate, they are extremely busy or have several problems to handle at the same time.
      "It's not a good time to discuss the problem with David. He's got a lot on his plate at the moment."

  • play a waiting game
    • A person who plays a waiting game delays taking any action or making any decision because they prefer to wait and see how things develop, usually in the hope that this will put them in a stronger position.
      "Our competitors are not reacting. They're playing a waiting game."

  • play your cards close to your chest
    • If your play your cards close to your chest, you keep your plans, intended actions or tactics secret from other people.
      "He's a very cautious businessman who plays his cards close to his chest."

  • play your cards right
    • If you play your cards right, you do all that is necessary to succeed or to obtain what you want.
      "If we play our cards right, we'll get the contract."

  • play cat and mouse
    • To play cat and mouse with someone means to treat them alternately cruelly and kindly, so that they do not know what to expect.
      "He is difficult to work for, always playing cat and mouse with the employees."

  • play by ear
    • To play by ear means to improvise or act without preparation, according to the demands of the situation.
      (Music : to play by remembering the tune, without printed music.)
      "It's hard to know how the situation will develop. Let's just play it by ear."

  • play with fire
    • People who take unnecessary risks, or behave in a way that puts them in danger, are playing with fire.
      "Driving alone on isolated roads in this weather is playing with fire."

  • play footsie
    • If you play footsie with someone, you touch their feet lightly, especially under the table, to show your interest.
      "Pete says they were playing footsie at the office Christmas lunch."

  • play to the gallery
    • A person who plays to the gallery tries to gain popularity by behaving in a way that will appeal to the majority.
      "It's no secret that he got elected by playing to the gallery."

  • play the game
    • If you play the game, you accept to do things according to generally-accepted customs or code of behaviour.
      "Not all website owners play the game. Some download content from other sites without permission."

  • play games with someone
    • If you are not completely honest, or behave in a way that is insincere, evasive or intentionally misleading, you are playing games with someone.
      "Look, stop playing games with us. Just tell us if you're interested in the project or not."

  • play hard to get
    • When someone plays hard to get, they deliberately pretend to be uninterested in another person in order to appear more attractive, interesting or seductive.
      "Kelly decided to play hard to get in the hope that her uninterested attitude would attract Alex."

  • play havoc
    • If someone or something plays havoc, they cause disorder and confusion.
      "The floods played havoc with the construction work."

  • play the market
    • If you play the market, you buy stocks and shares in the hope of making a profit when you sell them.
      "It's always tempting to play the market, but it's more risky at the present time."

  • play by the rules
    • If you play by the rules, you behave in a fair and honest way with people.
      "You can trust him, don't worry. He always plays by the rules."

  • play into someone's hands
    • If you play into someone's hands, you do exactly what your opponent or enemy expects you to do, so that they gain an advantage over you.
      "When the leaders of the protest movement became violent, they played right into the hands of the police."

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