Stan: What are those, ah, cotton pants?

Kramer: Yeah...Why, is it too cold out?

Stan: Here's what you do: you bring a lightweight jacket, that way the sun comes out, you play the jacket off the sweater.


I couldn't understand the usage of "play" and "off" here so I failed to understand the meaning of this line.

  • 1
    Play X off Y is an idiom, but this doesn't seem like a normal usage of it. I wonder if this line is intended to be humorous because Stan the caddy is talking about clothing choices as if he were giving Kramer advice on how to play a hole of golf.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 12:30
  • Thanks @stangdon. This should be correct. It's a short variant of "play A off against B". oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/… Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 14:46

2 Answers 2


I initially didn’t have an answer to this question, so I thought I would leave it for others to answer. However, since follow-up comments haven’t clarified it very much, I’m going to go out on a limb and say

It is not clear what this means.

Obviously, it has something to do with reconfiguring the jacket and sweater based on the weather, but beyond that, this is simply not a standard way of conveying any particular meaning in English.

You did transcribe the quote correctly, so I can only guess that it is “Seinfeldese” (language fabricated by the show) or that it is some sort of regional expression that is not widespread.

  • "Seinfeldese" is right. The characters in Seinfeld don't talk like real people, they are wittier, they use clever wordplay, they have quirks of language. The script is very carefully constructed, but not "natural".
    – James K
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 22:37

As far i understood, it means when it gets sunny you can remove the jacket and will be fine with sweater (assuming you wear jacket on top of sweater).

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