noun, often attributive
\ˈpä-lē \
plural polys\ˈpä-​lēz \

Definition of poly 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a polymerized plastic or something made of this especially : a polyester fiber, fabric, or garment

Definition of poly- (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : many : several : much : multi- polychotomous polygyny

2a : containing an indefinite number more than one of a (specified) substance polysulfide

b : polymeric : polymer of a (specified) monomer polyethylene polyadenylic acid

Examples of poly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

BIOSTIMULATORY FILLER Products like, poly-L-lactic acid (brand name: Sculptra) and calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), which volumize skin by gradually stimulating collagen production. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 But in every case, your ship glides across one edge, while low-poly critters, flowers, and other light-flashing entities creep toward you from the other. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Tempest 4000 finally lives after delays, legal threats—but what’s up on PC?," 17 July 2018 The only way to transform from roly poly to svelte and strong is through a combination of healthy eating and exercise. Philly.com, "3 common fitness 'tips' to ignore," 17 Apr. 2018 That’s what this poly-cotton tank brings to the party. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "The Best Budget Tank Tops for Men," 19 June 2018 Stars of the park include the big cats (bobcats, lynx, and cougar), roly-poly black bears, and moose that munch all manner of browse, unperturbed by squealing youngsters. Patricia Harris And David Lyon, BostonGlobe.com, "Goin’ up the country: The rustic appeal of Maine’s Route 26," 21 June 2018 Thirty-one feet long, it is woven of a special poly-grass fiber that doesn’t stretch. Melissa Lyttle, Smithsonian, "The First Family of Rodeo," 13 Dec. 2017 Plenty of Vitale’s images revel in the adorableness of the tiny floofs—their roly-poly nature, their jet-black ear fluffs and their expressive black eye patches. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "Why Photographing Pandas Is More Challenging Than You Might Think," 21 May 2018 Know that no one understands the difference between a 3-pronged poly folder, available in multiple colors, and a 3-pronged plastic folder, available in multiple colors. Ginger D. Rough, USA TODAY, "Parents: Stop complaining about your kids' school supply list," 15 May 2018

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


1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for poly


short for polymer

Combining form

Greek, from polys; akin to Old High German filu many, Sanskrit puru, Latin plenus full — more at full

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poly

Statistics for poly

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poly

The first known use of poly was in 1942

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poly

English Language Learners Definition of poly-

: many



Kids Definition of poly-

: many : much : multi- polymer


\ˈpäl-ē \
plural polys\-​ēz \

Medical Definition of poly 

: a polymorphonuclear leukocyte

More from Merriam-Webster on poly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with poly

Britannica English: Translation of poly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on poly

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


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!