[ pol-ee ]
/ ˈpɒl i /

noun, plural pol·ies.

Informal. polyester(def 2): a blend of poly and cotton.
a fabric or garment made of polyester.


made of or containing polyester: a poly swimsuit.

Nearby words

  1. polska,
  2. poltava,
  3. poltergeist,
  4. poltoratsk,
  5. poltroon,
  6. poly bag,
  7. poly i:c,
  8. poly-,
  9. poly-drug,
  10. poly.

Origin of poly

by shortening


[ pol-ee ]
/ ˈpɒl i /

adjective Informal.

noting or relating to polyamory; polyamorous: They’re in a poly relationship.
identifying as polyamorous: They’re not monogamous, they’re poly.

Origin of poly

First recorded in 1990–95; shortening of polyamorous


a combining form with the meanings “much, many” and, in chemistry, “polymeric,” used in the formation of compound words: polyandrous; polyculture; polyethylene.

Origin of poly-

< Greek, combining form representing polýs; akin to Old English fela many. See plus


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

Examples from the Web for poly

British Dictionary definitions for poly


/ (ˈpɒlɪ) /

noun plural polys

informal short for polytechnic


informal short for polyester
informal short for polythene


combining form

more than one; many or muchpolyhedron
having an excessive or abnormal number or amountpolycythaemia

Word Origin for poly-

from Greek polus much, many; related to Old English fela many

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 poly


word-forming element meaning "many, much, multi-, one or more," from Greek poly-, combining form of polys "much" (plural polloi); cognate with Latin plus, from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill," with derivatives referring to multitudinousness or abundance (cf. Sanskrit purvi "much," prayah "mostly;" Avestan perena-, Old Persian paru "much;" Greek plethos "people, multitude, great number," polys "much, plenty," ploutos "wealth;" Lithuanian pilus "full, abundant;" Old Church Slavonic plunu; Gothic filu "much," Old Norse fjöl-, Old English fela, feola "much, many;" Old English folgian; Old Irish lan, Welsh llawn "full;" Old Irish il, Welsh elu "much"); probably related to root *pele- (2) "to spread."

Properly used in compounds only with words of Greek origin. In chemical names, usually indicating a compound with a large number of atoms or molecules of the same kind (cf. polymer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for poly



More than one; many; much:polyatomic.
More than usual; excessive; abnormal:polydipsia.
Polymer; polymeric:polyethylene.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for poly


A prefix meaning “many,” as in polygon, a figure having many sides. In chemistry, it is used to form the names of polymers by being attached to the name of the base unit of which the polymer is made, as in polysaccharide, a polymer made of repeating simple sugars (monosaccharides).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.