: a tactic intended to embarrass or frustrate an opponent
: a devised or contrived move : stratagem
a ploy to get her to open the doorRobert B. Parker

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 Once a financial advisor to NFL football players, Blazer had been caught in a fraudulent ploy to misappropriate more than $2M from his clients to fund his hapless forays into the entertainment industry, including financing an instantly forgettable film called Mafia. Guy Lawson, Rolling Stone, 24 Mar. 2024 Understandably, the queen assumes the decision is Wilhelm’s reactive –– and fleeting –– ploy to reunite with Simon (Omar Rudberg), who ended their relationship in the penultimate episode after expressing his fears that the pressures of the crown were changing Wilhelm and himself. Hunter Ingram, Variety, 19 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, Democrats accused Republicans of scuttling the bill in a cynical ploy to keep the border in chaos — and a political problem for Biden. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Mar. 2024 Trending Now: As Humira biosimilars take over the market, CVS has created a new ploy: the drug ‘rebate credit’ Where is that translation between studying bird brains and studying human brains? Nicholas Stfleur, STAT, 15 Mar. 2024 Schiff cheapened himself with his cynical effort to help Garvey in Senate primary Rep. Adam B. Schiff’s clever and cynical ploy in California’s Senate primary enabled him to avoid risk in the November runoff. Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2024 In part, Trump’s threats were a bargaining ploy to force European states to meet their commitment to spend two percent of GDP on their own defense—but only in part. Graham Allison, Foreign Affairs, 16 Jan. 2024 The New York Times speculated Thursday that Trump’s August trial date request in the documents case could be a ploy to ensure the federal election case—which polling suggests could prove damaging to Trump with voters if he’s convicted—won’t go to trial until after November. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 Keoghan and Elordi, however, have been essentially fawning over each other on social media for weeks — a wise, enticing move for the TikTok generation, but as a ploy to rope in older Oscar voters, that kind of plan might not do the trick. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 1 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ploy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from employ

First Known Use

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ploy was in 1697

Dictionary Entries Near ploy

Cite this Entry

“Ploy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ploy. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a trick designed to embarrass or upset an opponent

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