\ 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

His voice hoarse from nonstop campaigning, López Obrador dismissed President Donald Trump’s order to deploy National Guard troops along the border as propaganda, a political ploy designed to stir xenophobia. Aaron Nelsen, San Antonio Express-News, "Front-runner in Mexican presidential race bashes Trump," 5 Apr. 2018 The idea that Trump’s obsession with the migrant caravan was a cynical midterm ploy that would be abandoned the minute the polls closed was always wrong. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trumpism doesn’t win majorities. And Trump doesn’t care.," 7 Nov. 2018 His lawyers counter the suit was a ploy to avoid being cut out of his will. Kate Stanhope,, "Timeline: The Redstones' many battles for Viacom ... and now CBS," 22 May 2018 That ploy turned especially sophisticated recently, as scammers hijacked legitimate accounts that were verified by Twitter and then used them as vehicles to solicit bitcoin. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook imposters are trying to swindle users out of bitcoin," 18 Dec. 2018 That sort of ploy existed long before baseball’s analytics age. Bob Brookover,, "Are Hector Neris' problems tied to his mind or mechanics? Gabe Kapler isn't sure | Bob Brookover," 19 June 2018 The focus was on people, the machinations and ploys of city dwellers. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "‘Like Floating Through a Library’: An Interview with Nick Paumgarten," 7 May 2018 The contest had just been a ploy for attention — and plenty of bargaining power. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Amazon," 27 Dec. 2018 Season 12, Episode 10 Recap: Sheldon Gets Advice From His Late Father TV crossover events are usually just a ratings ploy, but tonight's Big Bang Theory proved to be the exception. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 6 Dec. 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

25 Feb 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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