noun, often attributive
\ ˈpä-lē How to pronounce poly (audio) \
plural polys\ ˈpä-​lēz How to pronounce polys (audio) \

Definition of poly

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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



Definition of poly (Entry 2 of 3)

informal : polyamorous "Everybody up there's poly, you know? … You can love more than one person at a time."— Donald Harstad … when you're in a poly relationship, you have to have a higher baseline of communication – you have to deal with problems right away.— Heather Nicoll

Definition of poly- (Entry 3 of 3)

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

The touches of the poly-master, who died 500 years ago this May, include an intricate, intertwining wall-to-ceiling fresco. Michael J. Bailey, BostonGlobe.com, "In Milan, a low-tech saunter through a mecca of high fashion," 18 June 2019 The cotton-poly material also shows an awareness of the seasons. Brittany Loggins, NBC News, "11 perfect outfits for your summer job interview (that won't break the bank!)," 20 June 2019 Our bookbag is a zippered, black, water-resistant poly-canvas. The Reader's Catalog, "New York Review of Books Bookbag," 17 June 2019 The name Polyphemus comes from the Greek poly, meaning many, and pheme, meaning speech, reputation, or fame. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 This is not to say poly and nitro produce no tonal differences. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Can Guitar Paint Affect Your Tone?," 31 Dec. 2018 Another emerging threat to Michigan’s water quality: the discovery of toxic chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at dozens of locations around the state. John Flesher, The Seattle Times, "Michigan governor revamps environmental agency after Flint," 4 Feb. 2019 Gagliardi says to wash your cotton or poly blend sheets and bedding in hot water, which won't harm them. Gigi Engle, SELF, "7 Tips for Cleaning Up After Sex Gets Messy," 12 Dec. 2018 That probably comes down to the game's original low-poly models, weird shadows, and super-blurry textures returning wholesale. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Shenmue I & II impressions: A gaming history lesson, but it feels like school," 20 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of poly


1942, in the meaning defined above


1992, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for poly


short for polymer


by shortening

Combining form

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

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Statistics for poly

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poly

The first known use of poly was in 1942

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More Definitions for poly

English Language Learners Definition of poly-

: many



Kids Definition of poly-

: many : much : multi- polymer


\ ˈpäl-ē How to pronounce poly (audio) \
plural polys\ -​ēz How to pronounce polys (audio) \

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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