ply

verb (1)
\ ˈplī How to pronounce ply (audio) \
plied; plying

Definition of ply

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to use or wield diligently busily plying his pen
b : to practice or perform diligently ply a trade
2 : to keep furnishing or supplying something to plied us with liquor
3a : to make a practice of rowing or sailing over or on the boat plies the river
b : to go or travel regularly over, on, or through jets plying the skies

intransitive verb

1 : to apply oneself steadily
2 : to go or travel regularly

ply

noun
plural plies

Definition of ply (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : one of several layers (as of cloth) usually sewn or laminated together
b : one of the strands in a yarn
c : one of the veneer sheets forming plywood
d : a layer of a paper or cardboard

ply

verb (2)
plied; plying

Definition of ply (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to twist together ply two single yarns

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ply in a Sentence

Noun

a single ply of fabric since taking a ply to French burgundies, he's hardly even looked at anything else in the wine store

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The group’s ship and those of other organizations ply the sea near Libya plucking people from rickety boats that are trying to reach Italy or Malta. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Standoff Over Migrants Stranded at Sea Ends as Europe Opens Doors," 9 Jan. 2019 Millions of years ago, a shark that would dwarf even the largest of its modern relatives plied the waters of the earth. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Prehistoric Megalodon Shark May Have Been Killed Off by the Great White," 14 Feb. 2019 Fifteen boat operators are granted licenses to ply the roughly hourlong route to the Skellig between May and October, with a maximum of 12 passengers each. Margot Dougherty, WSJ, "In Ireland, a Getaway Far, Far Away," 6 Nov. 2018 Meghan had plenty of opportunities to ply her niece- and nephew-to-be with homemade goodies. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Won Over Prince George and Princess Charlotte With Her Cooking," 25 Aug. 2018 This being the early 1990s, Padraic has gone to ply his trade in Belfast just when the first ceasefire between the British and the paramilitaries had been established. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018 Sulistyo said his trawler plied waters between Africa and the Caribbean. chicagotribune.com, "'Sustainably caught' seafood? Nationwide distributor's murky supply chain exposed," 14 June 2018 But of the 25 buses that used to ply the route five years ago, all but two are out of commission because of a lack of affordable spare parts. Anthony Faiola And Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "Blackouts, hyperinflation, hunger: Maduro faces reelection as Venezuela deteriorates," 16 May 2018 With harbors in the region and Lake Michigan itself largely free of ice, the conditions will tempt the hardiest anglers to launch boats and ply the waters for trout. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Brown trout, and commercial fishing, also deserve board scrutiny," 24 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ply, or number of threads wrapped together, as well as fiber choice makes a difference, too. Hannah Morrill, ELLE Decor, "The Best Luxury Sheets For the Perfect Night's Sleep," 15 Nov. 2018 Over the past century and a half or so, the humble automobile has seen a million advancements: fuel injection, radial-ply tires, self-driving technology, cupholders. Blake Z. Rong, Popular Mechanics, "10 Innovations That Made the Modern Car," 4 Dec. 2018 North and south walls feature Cedartech panels—band-sawn gaboon, a tropical hardwood, pressed onto radiata ply. Karen Bruno, WSJ, "Wealthy Homeowners Find a Luxurious Way to Shelter Outdoors," 1 Aug. 2018 Launching just in time for holiday travel is a seven-piece luggage collection in an exclusive vivid green colorway, made of super-tough, tactile, three-ply canvas trimmed with leather. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "It’s Easy Being Green With Vogue x T. Anthony’s Limited-Edition Luggage Collection," 20 Sep. 2018 Pros Soft Very absorbent Dissolves quickly Cons Somewhat weak when wet This two-ply budget buy from BJs outperformed all others. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "Berkley Jensen Ultra Soft Bath Tissue," 8 Sep. 2017 The tarps are a heavier ply than most commercially-available plastic sheathing and installers secure them every 6 feet or so. Mary Shanklin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Free roof-tarp program signups in Orange, Seminole," 26 Sep. 2017 The 21-year-old plies his trade in a more defensive midfield position, but has still contributed two assists for his team. SI.com, "Southampton vs Bournemouth Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News, Prediction & More," 27 Apr. 2018 Our ship, outfitted with remarkable stabilizer technology, plies unperturbed through a calmer-than-usual (i.e. still pretty tempestuous) Drake Passage on our return from the continent. Nina Kokotas Hahn, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why It's Still Okay to Visit Antarctica, According to a Climate Change Scientist," 14 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ply.' 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 ply

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

circa 1909, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ply

Verb (1)

Middle English plien, short for applien to apply

Verb (2) and Noun

Middle English plien to fold, from Anglo-French plier, pleier, from Latin plicare; akin to Old High German flehtan to braid, Latin plectere, Greek plekein

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ply

Dictionary Entries near ply

pluvioscope

pluviose

pluvious

ply

plyboard

plyer

plyers

Statistics for ply

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ply

The first known use of ply was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ply

ply

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ply

: one of the layers, folds, or strands that make something (such as yarn or plywood)

ply

verb
\ ˈplī How to pronounce ply (audio) \
plied; plying

Kids Definition of ply

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to use something steadily or forcefully ply an ax
2 : to keep supplying They plied their guest with food.
3 : to work at Carpenters were busy plying their trade.

ply

noun
plural plies

Kids Definition of ply (Entry 2 of 2)

: one of the folds, layers, or threads of which something (as yarn or plywood) is made up

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ply

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ply

Spanish Central: Translation of ply

Nglish: Translation of ply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ply for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ply

What made you want to look up ply? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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