\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Convening a hearing with an empty chair at the witness table might be an effective public relations ploy — once. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: After Mueller testifies, the impeachment question will demand an answer," 14 July 2019 Despite the bizarre ploy, Chile continued to dominate and Arturo Vidal had a second half effort that was similarly chalked off after VAR noticed a hand ball in the build up to the goal., "Copa America Roundup: Peru & Chile Prevail on Penalties as Colombia & Uruguay Bow Out," 30 June 2019 The bill is a cynical ploy intended to increase the chances of passage by keeping voters in the dark. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: What California school bond lobby wants hidden from voters," 23 June 2019 And, again, while there’s excitement that Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg read books, the fact that both Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have written children’s books is treated as something of a cynical ploy. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Female Presidential Candidates Are Still Overlooked," 18 Apr. 2019 Another tactical ploy was for the miners to dig away the earth directly under the heavy castle wall. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of ploy

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ploy

probably from employ

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ploy

Dictionary Entries near ploy

plow up







Statistics for ploy

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ploy

The first known use of ploy was in 1697

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!