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See more synonyms for ploy on Thesaurus.com
  1. a maneuver or stratagem, as in conversation, to gain the advantage.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Military Archaic. to move (troops) from a line into a column.Compare deploy.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Military Archaic. to move from a line into a column.
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Origin of ploy

1475–85; earlier ploye to bend < Middle French ployer (French plier) < Latin plicāre to fold, ply2; see deploy
Related formscoun·ter·ploy, noun

Synonyms for ploy

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ploy

maneuver, tactic, stratagem, ruse, subterfuge, device, scheme, dodge, play, move, feint, contrivance, artifice, wile, gambit

Examples from the Web for ploy

Contemporary Examples of ploy

Historical Examples of ploy

  • There is a misprint of 'employ' in Thomas Davies' edition, as before.

  • If I was a stone or two lighter, and had one to look after the shop, it's off on this ploy I would be too.

  • He put the question roughly, for nobody likes to lose a ploy.

  • There were more again who could never bear to be absent from any ploy: Pepa Frias, Lola, and a few more.


    Armando Palacio Valds

  • The night before they touched at Naples Marcella and Louis arranged what she called a "ploy."


    M. Leonora Eyles

British Dictionary definitions for ploy


  1. a manoeuvre or tactic in a game, conversation, etc; stratagem; gambit
  2. any business, job, hobby, etc, with which one is occupiedangling is his latest ploy
  3. mainly British a frolic, escapade, or practical joke
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Word Origin for ploy

C18: originally Scot and northern English, perhaps from obsolete n sense of employ meaning an occupation
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 ploy


1722, "anything with which one amuses oneself," Scottish and northern England dialect, possibly a shortened form of employ or deploy. Popularized in the sense "move or gambit made to gain advantage" by British humorist Stephen Potter (1900-1969).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper