1. pliers, (sometimes used with a singular verb) small pincers with long jaws, for bending wire, holding small objects, etc. (usually used with pair of).
  2. a person or thing that plies.
Also especially British, ply·er.

Origin of plier

First recorded in 1560–70; ply2 + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plier

Historical Examples of plier

  • Wet the spokes well and with a plier press them hard and turn them up.

    Practical Basketry

    Anna A. Gill

  • Another use of this plier, also indicated, is to bend over the ends of the split pin in order to prevent it from falling out.

    Aviation Engines

    Victor Wilfred Pag

  • A meeting of the plier manufacturers of the country was called and the question was put before them.

  • Wet the spokes again and with the plier press the spokes well and bend them outward for a slight flare.

    Practical Basketry

    Anna A. Gill

British Dictionary definitions for plier


  1. 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

Word Origin and History for plier

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper