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or byplay

[bahy-pley] /ˈbaɪˌpleɪ/
an action or speech carried on to the side while the main action proceeds, especially on the stage.
Origin of by-play
1805-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for byplay
Historical Examples
  • And in this pause, a curious piece of byplay passed between Warner and OHearn.

    Out of the Air Inez Haynes Irwin
  • Miss Leonora sat rather grimly looking on at all this byplay.

    The Perpetual Curate Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
  • One bit of byplay unnoticed by the seconds, very busy for the moment with their arrangements, must be mentioned.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • He found time also, when the press of the season was over, for some byplay as a reviewer.

    Musical Criticisms Arthur Johnstone
  • A 'byplay' bearing the same name follows an elegy upon the death of an only son.

  • Child's play—and byplay; yet not, perhaps, utterly irrelevant.

    The Great Miss Driver Anthony Hope
  • This byplay was unnoticed by large-minded John Waring, but it amused Lockwood, who was an observer of human nature.

    The Mystery Girl Carolyn Wells
  • So, there, by one byplay of the mind or another, it survived in changing raiment.

  • This byplay between Ochiltree and the officer did not serve to make Harper any more easy in his mind.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck Stanley R. Matthews
  • The mistress of the Lazy D had been aware of the byplay, but she had caught neither the words nor their import.

    Wyoming, a Story of the Outdoor West William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for byplay


secondary action or talking carried on apart while the main action proceeds, esp in a play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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