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 low-poly fantasy-forest world, and its repeating geometry and blue-green-purple aesthetic, blurred together in my two hours of play with little in the way of obvious landmarks to call out. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Crucible, Amazon’s new online shooter: Alexa, does this game have a chance?," 19 May 2020 They are credited with launching the catchy Afrobeat dance music featuring prominent guitars, complex brass harmonies, and poly-rhythmic drumming. Andrew Meldrum, BostonGlobe.com, "Drummer Tony Allen, driver of Afrobeat sound, dies at 79," 1 May 2020 Its new poly microsuede fabric masks are made to fit tightly around the face and include a filter that can be inserted in the mask. Los Angeles Times, "Need a face mask? These L.A. companies have you covered," 10 Apr. 2020 From these, attach supply lines of flexible ½-inch poly tubing. Fiona Gilsenan, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build a Raised Garden Bed," 14 Mar. 2020 This adjustable headrest molds to your noggin with its unique blend of open cell memory foam and poly fiber fill and also allows for a breathable airflow that will keep your pillow cool. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best bedding deals you can get right now," 7 Apr. 2020 Using twin bass drums, Mr. Baker fashioned a pounding, poly-rhythmic style uncommonly swift and heavy that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. BostonGlobe.com, "Family says Ginger Baker, drummer for Cream, has died at 80 - The Boston Globe," 7 Oct. 2019 Equality is a key component of poly culture, and many polygamous marriages can be unequal. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "What you need to know about polyamory — including throuples — but were too afraid to ask," 14 Feb. 2020 My Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lites, which feature weather-resistant polyester on the front and a breathable poly-Lycra blend in back, have worked flawlessly through a full season, with no wear or other issues. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "How to Assemble a Winter Cycling Kit—Without a Fat Bike," 6 Feb. 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Poly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poly. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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