verb (used with object)
  1. Military Archaic. to move (troops) from a line into a column.Compare deploy.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for ploys

Historical Examples of ploys

  • I motioned Sweetheart to get behind me—which she did, eager to take a hand in one of "father's ploys."

    Sweethearts at Home

    S. R. Crockett

British Dictionary definitions for ploys


  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

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 ploys



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