\ ˈplȯi How to pronounce ploy (audio) \

Definition of ploy

2a : a tactic intended to embarrass or frustrate an opponent
b : a devised or contrived move : stratagem a ploy to get her to open the door— Robert B. Parker

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Examples of ploy in a Sentence

Her story about being sick is only a ploy to get you to give her money. asking me to take her shopping turned out to be a ploy to get me to the surprise party

Recent Examples on the Web

White House officials have tried to cleave a debt ceiling vote away from a spending vote for weeks, but some Democratic aides have said this is a ploy to drive a government shutdown in October without also forcing a debt ceiling crisis. Damian Paletta, Washington Post, "Pelosi says she is seeking to finalize deal to raise debt ceiling and resolve budget impasse before August recess," 11 July 2019 And the president’s favorite television show, Fox & Friends, ran a segment Friday morning in the hours before his tweet that raised the possibility that the bombs were a ploy to help Democrats. Catherine Lucey, The Seattle Times, "After arrest, Republicans struggle with mail bombs fallout," 27 Oct. 2018 Immigrant-rights advocates described the planned raids as a campaign ploy that would do little more than instill fear in the immigrant community. Roxana Kopetman, The Mercury News, "Southern California reacts to news of pending ICE raids," 22 June 2019 Both of actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli's daughters had pictures taken of themselves on rowing machines as a ploy to appear as crew team recruits for USC, prosecutors said. Mark Morales, CNN, "Insurance executive pleads guilty in college admissions scandal," 21 June 2019 On the one hand, yes, Pan Am’s moon gambit was an obvious marketing ploy. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "When Pan Am Promised To Fly Us To the Moon," 28 Feb. 2019 The entire Mexico scare was a classic Trump ploy: creating a crisis and then claiming the credit for resolving it. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "A Weakening Economy May Be the Biggest Threat to Donald Trump," 8 June 2019 Using trade restrictions as a negotiating ploy is one thing; actually carrying them out in the real world creates disaster. WSJ, "The Commerce Department Should Consider the Past," 17 June 2018 This is nothing more than a political ploy for you and your run for governor. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "CalPERS won't pull its money out of gun sellers. Here's what it's doing instead. | The Sacramento Bee," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ploy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ploy

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ploy

probably from employ

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Dictionary Entries near ploy

plow up







Statistics for ploy

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ploy

The first known use of ploy was in 1697

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More Definitions for ploy



English Language Learners Definition of ploy

: a clever trick or plan that is used to get someone to do something or to gain an advantage over someone


\ ˈplȯi How to pronounce ploy (audio) \
plural ploys

Kids Definition of ploy

: a trick used to make someone do something or get an advantage

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More from Merriam-Webster on ploy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ploy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ploy

Spanish Central: Translation of ploy

Nglish: Translation of ploy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ploy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ploy

What made you want to look up ploy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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