[ plahy ]
See synonyms for: plypliesplying on

verb (used with object),plied, ply·ing.
  1. to work with or at diligently; employ busily; use: to ply the needle.

  2. to carry on, practice, or pursue busily or steadily: to ply a trade.

  1. to treat with or apply to (something) repeatedly (often followed by with): to ply a fire with fresh fuel.

  2. to assail persistently: to ply horses with a whip.

  3. to supply with or offer something pressingly to: to ply a person with drink.

  4. to address (someone) persistently or urgently, as with questions, solicitations, etc.; importune.

  5. to pass over or along (a river, stream, etc.) steadily or on a regular basis: boats that ply the Mississippi.

verb (used without object),plied, ply·ing.
  1. to run or travel regularly over a fixed course or between certain places, as a boat, bus, etc.

  2. to perform one's work or office busily or steadily: to ply with the oars; to ply at a trade.

Origin of ply

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English plien, shortened variant of ap(p)lien apply

Other words for ply

Other words from ply

  • ply·ing·ly, adverb

Other definitions for ply (2 of 2)

[ plahy ]

noun,plural plies.
  1. a thickness or layer.

  2. Automotive. a layer of reinforcing fabric for a tire.

  1. a unit of yarn: single ply.

  2. one of the sheets of veneer that are glued together to make plywood.

  3. Informal. plywood.

  4. bent, bias, or inclination.

verb (used with object),plied, ply·ing.
  1. British Dialect. to bend, fold, or mold.

verb (used without object),plied, ply·ing.
  1. Obsolete. to bend, incline, or yield.

Origin of ply

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb plien, pleie, plaie “to bend, fold, mold,” from Middle French plier, ployer “to fold, bend,” variant of ployer, Old French pleier, from Latin plicāre “to fold”; see origin at fold1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ply in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ply (1 of 2)


/ (plaɪ) /

verbplies, plying or plied (mainly tr)
  1. to carry on, pursue, or work at (a job, trade, etc)

  2. to manipulate or wield (a tool)

  1. to sell (goods, wares, etc), esp at a regular place

  2. (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

  3. (intr) to perform or work steadily or diligently: to ply with a spade

  4. (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

Origin of ply

C14 plye, short for aplye to apply

British Dictionary definitions for ply (2 of 2)


/ (plaɪ) /

nounplural plies
    • a layer, fold, or thickness, as of cloth, wood, yarn, etc

    • (in combination): four-ply

  1. a thin sheet of wood glued to other similar sheets to form plywood

  1. one of the strands twisted together to make rope, yarn, etc

  1. to twist together (two or more single strands) to make yarn

Origin of ply

C15: from Old French pli fold, from plier to fold, from Latin plicāre

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