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See more synonyms for plier on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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Also especially British, ply·er.

Origin of plier

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pliers

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Also remove any roughness on surface "B" caused by pliers when cover was removed.

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


    Leon Luther Pray

  • The same result may be brought about by the use of a pair of pliers.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • The pliers struck the blackness and rebounded as if they had hit a rubber wall.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • Go get from the barn the pliers, the hand-tool that pinches.

    Blind Man's Lantern

    Allen Kim Lang

British Dictionary definitions for pliers


pl n
  1. a gripping tool consisting of two hinged arms with usually serrated jaws that close on the workpiece
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Word Origin

C16: from ply 1


  1. a person who plies a trade
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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 pliers


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

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper