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 urgently, 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.
- ply·ing·ly, adverb
Other definitions for ply (2 of 2)
a thickness or layer.
Automotive. a layer of reinforcing fabric for a tire.
British Dialect. to bend, fold, or mold.
Obsolete. to bend, incline, or yield.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ply in a sentence
That’s why long freight trains, such as the ones that ply across the North American continent, are ideal.Vibrations from trains could help seismologists peer underground | Rahul Rao | February 1, 2021 | Popular-Science
These bags are single-ply which means stains and smells are easily removed because can’t get trapped in between layers of fabric.
The two men ply their trades in different fields and on different continents and are separated by at least 100 pounds.
The way it all moved looked all futuristic as the lead sprang to 21-7 across the first 21 minutes, at least until Notre Dame plied its general excellence and particular adjustments to tame the show from there.Alabama advances to the national title game with an artful offensive performance | Chuck Culpepper, Des Bieler | January 2, 2021 | Washington Post
Add in old-growth forests, rolling hills, and the odd wolf pack and you have a great hike, no matter which sections you choose to ply.
A lot of patients are fed up with being plied with pharmaceuticals and are turning to alternative practitioners.
We walked through shady villages where children plied us for pens before running after us, giggling and curious.
And more so because I plied the same trade as Llewyn Davis for a while.Interview: T Bone Burnett, the Coen Brothers’ Music Guru | Andrew Romano | December 13, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
In other words, I still plied my trade but now I worried about things.
She bathed Madame Ratignolle's face with cologne, while Robert plied the fan with unnecessary vigor.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
They quickly “got into step,” as Amy called it, and their paddles literally plied the lake as one.The Campfire Girls of Roselawn | Margaret Penrose
The comfortable yet humble apartments of the engraver were over the shop where he plied his daily toil.Madame Roland, Makers of History | John S. C. Abbott
The boatmen sang in deep and almost tragic voices as they plied the enormous oars.Bella Donna | Robert Hichens
The new-comers gathered around the caribou and plied the successful hunters with questions.Gold-Seeking on the Dalton Trail | Arthur R. Thompson
British Dictionary definitions for ply (1 of 2)
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 persistently: he 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 diligently: to 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
British Dictionary definitions for ply (2 of 2)
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
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