play fair

Idioms & Phrases

play fair

Behave honestly and honorably, obey the rules, as in Not every supplier we deal with plays fair, or We can't just leave them to find their own way backthat's not playing fair. Although this idiom conjures up playing by the rules in some game or sport, it actually has been used in this figurative way since the mid-1400s. Also see play the game.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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