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[plahy-uh] /ˈplaɪ ə/
Western U.S. the sandy, salty, or mud-caked flat floor of a desert basin having interior drainage, usually occupied by a shallow lake during or after prolonged, heavy rains.
Compare dry lake.
1850-55, Americanism; < Spanish: shore < Late Latin plagia; see plage Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for playa
  • Then a dazzling stroke of fortune presented a chance to playa really important rôle.
  • And, by some people's standards, he doesn't even playa sport: he bowls.
  • You're not supposed to throw anything away on the playa.
  • Learn how wind can push rocks the size of small appliances hundreds of feet across a desert playa.
  • The serene beauty was overwhelming with clouds of dust blowing across the playa in the warm breeze.
  • Also called a playa, sink, or salt pan environment: noun: conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.
British Dictionary definitions for playa


/ˈplɑːjə; Spanish ˈplaja/
(in the US) a temporary lake, or its dry often salty bed, in a desert basin
Word Origin
Spanish: shore, from Late Latin plagia, from Greek plagios slanting, from plagos side; compare French plage beach
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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Contemporary definitions for playa

a colloquial spelling for player, in the sense of a person who is involved and influential in an activity


Are you a playa?

Usage Note

slang's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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playa in Science
A dry lake bed at the bottom of a desert basin, sometimes temporarily covered with water. Playas have no vegetation and are among the flattest geographical features in the world. Also called sink.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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