Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[plahy-er] /ˈplaɪ ər/
pliers, (sometimes used with a singular verb) small pincers with long jaws, for bending wire, holding small objects, etc. (usually used with pair of).
a person or thing that plies.
Also, especially British, plyer.
Origin of plier
First recorded in 1560-70; ply2 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pliers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he had an airplane of his own, he would find a hundred uses for a pair of pliers exactly like those.

    Skyrider B. M. Bower
  • You couldn't pull a cotter pin with a pair of pliers if you knew what a cotter pin was.

    Unspecialist Murray F. Yaco
  • It did not take long to get his pliers from his toolbag and snip off a piece of the wire.

  • When dry remove the thread with scissors and the wires by a slight twist with pliers.

    Taxidermy Leon Luther Pray
  • Shutting off the magnet, Arcot picked up a pair of pliers and gripped the little fragment.

    The Black Star Passes John W Campbell
  • The same result may be brought about by the use of a pair of pliers.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The window was nailed down but her pliers soon took care of that.

British Dictionary definitions for pliers


plural noun
a gripping tool consisting of two hinged arms with usually serrated jaws that close on the workpiece
Word Origin
C16: from ply1


a person who plies a trade
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pliers

"pincers," 1560s, plural agent noun from ply (n.). French cognate plieur meant "folder."



"one who folds," 1670s, agent noun from ply (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for plier

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pliers

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for pliers