\ 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

Rather than promote brand loyalty, the ploy can actually make customers stray. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Why Yeezys, a brand based on exclusivity, are suddenly so easy to buy," 21 Sep. 2018 Surprisingly, the two natural wingers turned strikers ploy worked a treat., "Wilfried Zaha Has Proved He Is the Long Term Future of Crystal Palace's Front Line," 8 May 2018 Across the country, school boards and states tried various ploys to evade de-segregation orders, and some areas simply ignored the mandate. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Linda Brown, at the Center of Brown v. Board of Education, Has Died," 27 Mar. 2018 Its state of preservation is remarkable, almost Hellenistic; clearly special ploys of the High Command are at work. Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘A German Officer in Occupied Paris’ Review: A Very Refined Occupation," 15 Feb. 2019 Today, there’s debate as to whether such shifting truly works anymore as hitters – with help from analytics specialists – devise ways to counteract the defensive shifting ploy. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s team must prepare for incoming tidal wave of advanced NHL stats," 4 Feb. 2019 Hesitation and doubt are seen as fatal weaknesses, while disinterest is usually seen as a tactical ploy. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Eisenhower Code: Happy to Serve, Reluctant to Lead," 7 Dec. 2018 But critics dismissed the lawsuit as a political ploy that’s not likely to prevail in the courts. Judson Berger, Fox News, "High-tax blue states sue Trump administration over cap on treasured deduction," 18 July 2018 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

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

6 May 2019

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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).


using a distributed computer network

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