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"Playing for Keeps"

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 07, 2005

In Reply to: "Playing for Keeps" posted by Muthukumar Rajagopalan on June 07, 2005

: I would like to know the meaning of the phrase "Playing for keeps"

OED: "7. Phr. for keeps: to keep, for good; hence, completely, altogether; also in extended use: in deadly earnest. colloq. (orig. U.S.). In Cricket, defensively, in order to remain at the wicket." It means, in marbles, that you're not just playing for a score, you get to keep the marbles. And in figurative uses it means nearly the same. If you are playing a dangerous game, you don't just get "counted" out, you ARE out, possibly dead. Often it does mean that you get to keep, literally, whatever you've won. Often it means, of a figurative game, that there's no going back. SS

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