Somebody told me

Are you playing thick or just are?

in the middle of a conversation. and I didn't know its meaning. I searched for "play thick" in Google, but I didn't find anything.

  1. Is “are you playing thick” slang?
  2. What does it mean?
  • What context is this expression used in? May be that can shed some light on its usage. Personally, I have never heard of such usage. Oct 30, 2015 at 5:24
  • General background is "criticizing".
    – Jimmy
    Oct 30, 2015 at 5:30
  • "Are you being thick?" is more like it. Or how about "Are you thick or just playing?"
    – Ricky
    Oct 30, 2015 at 5:34
  • 3
    In the United States, the (equivalently hostile) wording might be "Are you just playing dumb, or are you really that stupid?" To "play thick" is to pretend not to understand (something).
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 30, 2015 at 6:32

5 Answers 5


I think here playing thick refers to 'pretending to be fool', so the the person is asking, "are you pretending to be a fool, or are you a fool?"

  • Informal Lacking mental agility; stupid.



Playing thick is not an idiom: it is simply made up of colloquial meanings of the two words - play meaning "pretend" and thick meaning "stupid".


Are you being idiotic on purpose or are you naturally that way?


The idiomatic version of this that I know reverses the sentence and goes along the lines of:

"Are you thick (i.e. stupid), or just mucking about (i.e. messing with my mind)?"


Thick skulled, but many times the latter isnt used.. just "being thick"

  • This would be a better answer if you supported it with citations.
    – Davo
    Aug 15, 2019 at 17:23

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