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. – Durga Swaroop Oct 30 '15 at 5:24
  • General background is "criticizing". – Salman Lashkarara Oct 30 '15 at 5:30
  • "Are you being thick?" is more like it. Or how about "Are you thick or just playing?" – Ricky Oct 30 '15 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 '15 at 6:32

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 '19 at 17:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.