• Ply


    • IPA: /plaɪ/
    • Rhymes: -aɪ

    Origin 1

    From Middle English, from Middle French pli ("pleat, fold"), from plier ("bend, fold"), from Latin plico ("fold, fold together")

    Full definition of ply



    (plural plies)
    1. A layer of material. (two-ply toilet paper)
    2. A strand that, twisted together with other strands, makes up yarn or rope.
    3. (colloquial) Plywood.
    4. (artificial intelligence, game theory) In two-player sequential games, a "half-turn", or one move made by one of the players.He proposed to build Deep Purple, a super-computer capable of 24-ply look-ahead for chess.
    5. (now chiefly Scotland) State, condition.
      • 1749, John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Penguin 1985, p. 66:You may be sure, in the ply I was now taking, I had no objection to the proposal, and was rather a-tiptoe for its accomplishment.

    Derived terms

    Origin 2

    From Middle English plien ("bend, fold, mold"), from Middle French plier ("bend, fold"), see Etymololgy 1.


    1. (transitive) to bend; to fold.
      • L'EstrangeThe willow plied, and gave way to the gust.
    2. (intransitive) to flex.

    Derived terms

    Origin 3

    From Middle English plien, short for applien ("apply")


    1. (transitive) To work at diligently.He plied his trade as carpenter for forty-three years.
      • WallerTheir bloody task, unwearied, still they ply.
    2. (intransitive) To work diligently.
      • MiltonEre half these authors be read (which will soon be with plying hard and daily).
      • AddisonHe was forced to ply in the streets as a porter.
    3. (transitive) To use vigorously.He plied his ax with bloody results.
    4. (transitive) To travel over regularly.ply the seven seasA steamer plies between certain ports.
    5. (transitive) To persist in offering.
      • 1929, M. Barnard Eldershaw, , Chapter VII, Section viEsther began ... to cry. But when the fire had been lit specially to warm her chilled limbs and Adela had plied her with hot negus she began to feel rather a heroine.
    6. She plied him with liquor.
    7. To press upon; to urge importunately.to ply one with questions, with solicitations, or with drink
      • ShakespeareHe plies the duke at morning and at night.
    8. To employ diligently; to use steadily.
      • ShakespeareGo ply thy needle; meddle not.
    9. (nautical) To work to windward; to beat.
    © Wiktionary