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play +‎ book


  • enPR: plā'bo͝ok, IPA(key): /ˈpleɪ.bʊk/
  • enPR: plā'bo͞ok IPA(key): /ˈpleɪ.buːk/ (still sometimes northern England; otherwise obsolete)[1]


playbook (plural playbooks)

  1. A book containing the text of a play or plays. [1530s]
  2. A book of games and amusements for children. [1690]
  3. (US, American football) A book of strategies (plays) for use in American football (and by extension other sports or disciplines). [1965]
  4. (US, figurative) A set of commonly employed tactics and strategies. [1990s]
    • 1994, Charles R. Wood, Sermon Outlines on Prayer, page 39:
      A Look at Satan's "Playbook"
    • 2017 March 17, Martin Kettle, “We used to think Theresa May was a safe pair of hands. We can no longer say that”, in The Guardian[1]:
      This isn’t merely a gamble on May’s part. It’s an act of reckless political daring. It’s straight out of Danton’s playbook on boldness – de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace. And look what happened to Danton – he lost his head.
    • 2017 March 21, Ed Finn, “The Corrupt Personalization of Netflix”, in Slate[2]:
      The company has built its business on the motto “everything is a recommendation”—the company likes to brag that it tailors every aspect of its interface for each individual user. It’s a playbook the company perfected with House of Cards, which was a tremendous gamble for the business of television when Netflix launched the show in 2013.
    • 2020 March 5, Mike Isaac, David Yaffe-Bellany, Karen Weise, “Workplace vs. Coronavirus: ‘No One Has a Playbook for This’”, in New York Times[3]:
      “No one has a playbook for this,” said Dan Levin, who runs a small company outside Chicago, Cain Millwork, which makes furniture and wall paneling. He said he was planning to have some of his office employees work from home.
    • 2022 November 2, Kate Conger, Ryan Mac, Tiffany Hsu, “Elon Musk Takes a Page Out of Mark Zuckerberg’s Social Media Playbook”, in The New York Times[4], →ISSN:
      But since closing his $44 billion buyout of Twitter last week, Mr. Musk has followed a surprisingly conventional social media playbook.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Book” in John Walker, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary [] , London: Sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinſon, Paternoſter Row; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1791, →OCLC, page 118, column 2.