- to work with or at diligently; employ busily; use: to ply the needle.
- to carry on, practice, or pursue busily or steadily: to ply a trade.
- to treat with or apply to (something) repeatedly (often followed by with): to ply a fire with fresh fuel.
- to assail persistently: to ply horses with a whip.
- to supply with or offer something pressingly to: to ply a person with drink.
- to address (someone) persistently or importunately, as with questions, solicitations, etc.; importune.
- to pass over or along (a river, stream, etc.) steadily or on a regular basis: boats that ply the Mississippi.
- to run or travel regularly over a fixed course or between certain places, as a boat, bus, etc.
- to perform one's work or office busily or steadily: to ply with the oars; to ply at a trade.
Origin of ply1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- British Dialect. to bend, fold, or mold.
- Obsolete. to bend, incline, or yield.
Origin of ply2
Examples from the Web for plying
A lesser, more desperate series would be plying her with catchphrases and recalibrating the show around her.Stop Hating on ‘Modern Family’ (But Also Stop Giving It Emmys)
October 15, 2014
Was I obliged to speak out against the profiteers who were plying them with high-interest credit?NYU Professor: Are Student Loans Immoral?
September 27, 2012
This week Dunn pleaded guilty to giving her 4-year-old a beer and plying her 10-month-old daughter with liquor and cocaine.Lights, Camera, Cocktails
October 22, 2011
After plying the internship director with martinis, they persuaded him to agree.8 Juicy Bits From Dick Cheney’s Memoir
September 1, 2011
The girls were now locked up, for boats were plying in the streets.Australia Revenged
All the men were in the smoking room, and all were plying Drake with questions.Nell, of Shorne Mills
Over them leans their driver, plying for the first time the hissing lash.The Ontario High School Reader
A fisherman, Adapa, is engaged in plying his trade when a storm arises.The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
A "droshky" is a low, four-wheeled, open carriage, plying for hire.From Pole to Pole
Sven Anders Hedin
- to carry on, pursue, or work at (a job, trade, etc)
- to manipulate or wield (a tool)
- to sell (goods, wares, etc), esp at a regular place
- (usually foll by with) to provide (with) or subject (to) repeatedly or persistentlyhe plied us with drink the whole evening; to ply a horse with a whip; he plied the speaker with questions
- (intr) to perform or work steadily or diligentlyto ply with a spade
- (also intr) (esp of a ship) to travel regularly along (a route) or in (an area)to ply between Dover and Calais; to ply the trade routes
- a layer, fold, or thickness, as of cloth, wood, yarn, etc
- (in combination)four-ply
- a thin sheet of wood glued to other similar sheets to form plywood
- one of the strands twisted together to make rope, yarn, etc
- to twist together (two or more single strands) to make yarn
Word Origin and History for plying
"work with, use," late 14c., shortened form of applien "join to, apply" (see apply). The core of this is Latin plicare "to lay, fold, twist," from PIE root *plek- "to plait, twist" (cf. Greek plekein "to plait, twine," plektos "twisted;" Latin plectere (past participle plexus) "to plait, braid, intertwine;" Old Church Slavonic plesti "to braid, plait, twist;" Gothic flahta "braid;" Old English fleax "cloth made with flax, linen").
Sense of "travel regularly" is first 1803, perhaps from earlier sense "steer a course" (1550s). Related: Plied; plies; plying.
"to bend," late 14c., plien, from Old French plier, earlier pleier "to fold, bend," from Latin plicare "to lay, fold, twist" (see ply (v.1)). Related: Plied; plies; plying.