\ 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 The government’s critics complain that this is a cynical ploy to shift the blame for Britain’s dismal handling of the epidemic from politicians to civil servants. The Economist, "Bagehot The government takes on the civil service," 4 July 2020 This is the end goal of the four-century long assimilation ploy. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Reckoning With Anti-Blackness in Indian Country," 3 July 2020 Some San Fernando Valley residents see it as a ploy by NASA to avoid spending $500 million to clean up decades of nuclear and other hazardous waste. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In CA: 'People don't social distance well after a couple drinks': More bars shut down," 30 June 2020 Still, some conservatives say tying its funding to Election Day jitters is a partisan ploy. Will Weissert, Anchorage Daily News, "Mail-in ballots thrust Postal Service into presidential race," 25 June 2020 The Jerry Garcia who is Diaz’s current runoff opponent claimed in December that the constable had recruited a relative with the same name to run for the seat in a ploy to confuse voters. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "What Bay Area voters need to know about runoff early voting," 16 June 2020 But the decision to ramp up hostilities could be a political ploy meant to jump-start inter-Korean talks, which have been essentially stuck in neutral for months. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea isn't talking to the South anymore. Experts say it could be trying to manufacture a crisis," 9 June 2020 Like rock and roll in the nineteen-sixties, hip-hop is both a movement and a marketing ploy, and the word is used to describe almost anything that’s supposed to appeal to young people. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Power and Business of Hip-Hop: A Reading List on an American Art Form," 12 Sep. 2010 Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called the allegations a ploy. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Iran plots terror on European soil as EU tries to shield regime from Trump sanctions push," 9 Aug. 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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Statistics for ploy

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ploy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ploy


How to pronounce ploy (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ploy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ploy

Spanish Central: Translation of ploy

Nglish: Translation of ploy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ploy for Arabic Speakers

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