AskDefine | Define ply

Dictionary Definition



1 one of the strands twisted together to make yarn or rope or thread; often used in combination; "three-ply cord"; "four-ply yarn"
2 (usually in combinations) one of several layers of cloth or paper or wood as in plywood


1 provide what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance; "The hostess provided lunch for all the guests" [syn: provide, supply, cater]
2 apply oneself diligently; "Ply one's trade"
3 travel a route regularly; "Ships ply the waters near the coast" [syn: run]
4 wield vigorously; "ply an axe"
5 use diligently; "ply your wits!" [also: plied]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /plaɪ/
  • Rhymes with: -aɪ

Etymology 1

From , from pli, from plier, from plico


  1. A layer of material. (two-ply toilet paper)

Etymology 2

From plien, from plier, see Etymololgy 1.


  1. to bend; to fold.
  2. to flex.
Derived terms

Etymology 3

From plien, short for applien


  1. To work at diligently.
    He plied his trade as carpenter for forty-three years.
  2. To use vigorously.
    He plied his ax with bloody results.
  3. To travel over regularly.
    ply the seven seas
  4. To persist in offering.
    She plied him with liquor.

Etymology 4

back-form reply


  1. In the context of "artificial intelligence|game theory": In two-player sequential games, one turn taken by one of the players.
    He proposed to build 'Deep Purple' a super-computer capable of 24-ply look-ahead for chess.

Etymology 5

back-form plywood

Extensive Definition

A ply is a strand layer of material, such as yarn, rope, plastic, wood, or paper. Plywood is so called because it is a laminate of several thin layers of wooden material. Two-ply toilet paper has two separable layers, each about as thick as single-ply, affording greater comfort and convenience without a commensurate increase in the risk of clogging the toilet. Ply is also a term used for a port or bay from edwardian times. Ply may also refer to:
ply in Czech: Skaní
ply in German: Zwirn

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

about ship, apply pressure, back and fill, bear away, bear off, bear to starboard, beat, beat about, beat to windward, beset, besiege, blandish, boat, box off, break, bring about, bring round, bug, buttonhole, cajole, canoe, cant, cant round, carry sail, cast, cast about, change course, change the heading, circumnavigate, close-haul, coast, coat, coating, coax, collop, come about, come in contact, course, cover, covering, crease, creasing, crimp, crisp, cross, cruise, cut, deal, disk, dispense, do, do with, dog-ear, double, double a point, double over, doubling, dun, duplicature, employ, enfold, exercise, exert, exert pressure, feel, feel of, fetch about, feuille, film, finger, flap, flection, flexure, flick, flounce, flute, foil, fold, fold over, force upon, frill, function, gather, go about, go by ship, go on shipboard, go over, go to sea, gybe, handle, heave round, importune, infold, insist, interfold, jibe, jibe all standing, lamella, lamina, laminated glass, laminated wood, lap, lap over, lapel, lappet, leaf, luff, luff up, make a passage, make use of, manage, maneuver, manipulate, measure, membrane, miss stays, motorboat, nag, nag at, navigate, operate, overpass, palm, palpate, pane, panel, pass over, pass through, patina, patrol, paw, peel, pellicle, perambulate, peregrinate, pererrate, pester, pinch, plague, plait, plank, plat, plate, plating, play, pleat, plica, plicate, plication, plicature, ply upon, plywood, poke at, practice, press, press upon, pressure, prod, push, push upon, put about, put back, put forth, put out, quill, range, range over, rasher, reconnoiter, round a point, row, ruche, ruching, ruff, ruffle, run, safety glass, sail, sail fine, sail round, sail the sea, scour, scour the country, scout, scull, scum, seafare, sheer, sheet, shift, skin, slab, slat, slew, slice, steam, steamboat, sweep, swerve, swing, swing round, swing the stern, table, tablet, tack, take a voyage, tap, tease, throw, throw about, thrust upon, thumb, touch, touch the wind, track, transit, travel over, travel through, traverse, tuck, turn, turn back, turn over, twiddle, twill, urge, urge upon, use, utilize, veer, veneer, voyage, wafer, wear, wear ship, wheedle, wield, wind, work, work on, yacht, yaw
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