play up to

play up to
INGRATIATE ONESELF WITH, curry favour with, court, fawn over, make up to, keep someone sweet, toady to, crawl to, pander to, flatter; informal soft-soap, suck up to, butter up, lick someone's boots.
play

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play up to
1. To act so as to afford opportunities to (another actor)
2. To flatter
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Main Entry:play

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ˌplay ˈup to [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they play up to he/she/it plays up to present participle playing up to past tense played up to past participle played up to] phrasal verb
to behave in a very friendly or polite way to someone because you want them to like you or to do something for you

He took great pains to play up to Joan’s mother.

Thesaurus: bribery and manipulationhyponym to start a friendshipsynonym
Main entry: play

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humor or flatter, esp. to win favor

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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