[ plahy ]
/ plaɪ /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: ply / plies / plying on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), plied, ply·ing.
verb (used without object), plied, ply·ing.
to run or travel regularly over a fixed course or between certain places, as a boat, bus, etc.
to perform one's work or office busily or steadily: to ply with the oars; to ply at a trade.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of ply

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English plien, shortened variant of ap(p)lien apply


ply·ing·ly, adverb

Other definitions for ply (2 of 2)

[ plahy ]
/ plaɪ /

noun, plural plies.
verb (used with object), plied, ply·ing.
British Dialect. to bend, fold, or mold.
verb (used without object), plied, ply·ing.
Obsolete. to bend, incline, or yield.

Origin of ply

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb plien, pleie, plaie “to bend, fold, mold,” from Middle French plier, ployer “to fold, bend,” variant of ployer, Old French pleier, from Latin plicāre “to fold”; see origin at fold1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ply in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ply (1 of 2)

/ (plaɪ) /

verb plies, plying or plied (mainly tr)
to carry on, pursue, or work at (a job, trade, etc)
to manipulate or wield (a tool)
to sell (goods, wares, etc), esp at a regular place
(usually foll by with) to provide (with) or subject (to) repeatedly or persistentlyhe plied us with drink the whole evening; to ply a horse with a whip; he plied the speaker with questions
(intr) to perform or work steadily or diligentlyto ply with a spade
(also intr) (esp of a ship) to travel regularly along (a route) or in (an area)to ply between Dover and Calais; to ply the trade routes

Word Origin for ply

C14 plye, short for aplye to apply

British Dictionary definitions for ply (2 of 2)

/ (plaɪ) /

noun plural plies
  1. a layer, fold, or thickness, as of cloth, wood, yarn, etc
  2. (in combination)four-ply
a thin sheet of wood glued to other similar sheets to form plywood
one of the strands twisted together to make rope, yarn, etc
verb (tr)
to twist together (two or more single strands) to make yarn

Word Origin for ply

C15: from Old French pli fold, from plier to fold, from Latin plicāre
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