a maneuver or stratagem, as in conversation, to gain the advantage.

verb (used with object)

Military Archaic. to move (troops) from a line into a column.Compare deploy.

verb (used without object)

Military Archaic. to move from a line into a column.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



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

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper