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Borrowed from French déployer (to unroll, unfold), from Old French desploiier, itself from des- + ploiier, or possibly from Late Latin displicāre (to unfold, display), from Latin dis- (apart) + plicare (to fold). Doublet of display.


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈplɔɪ/
  • (file)


deploy (third-person singular simple present deploys, present participle deploying, simple past and past participle deployed)

  1. (transitive, ergative) To prepare and arrange (usually military unit or units) for use.
    "Deploy two units of infantry along the enemy's flank," the general ordered.
    deploy some lifeguards on the beach
    Teachers can deploy a wide range of resources in their classrooms.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 1, page 293:
      The carriage, which was at full gallop, stopped suddenly; the guards deployed round, and Mademoiselle alighted. She advanced with the step of an empress, till she came beside the Queen, when, dropping on her knee, she kissed the hem of her robe, and then the royal hand.
    • 2019 October, Tony Miles and Philip Sherratt, “EMR kicks off new era”, in Modern Railways, page 53:
      EMR will deploy 18 of the 21 '360s' in daily service, operating them in 12-car formations at peak times.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To unfold, open, or otherwise become ready for use.
    He waited tensely for his parachute to deploy.
    deploy the airbag
    the airbag will deploy on collision
    • 2012, John Branch, “Snow Fall : The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”, in New York Time[1]:
      At first she thought she would be embarrassed that she had deployed her air bag, that the other expert skiers she was with, more than a dozen of them, would have a good laugh at her panicked overreaction.
  3. (computing) To install, test and implement a computer system or application.
    The process for the deployment scenario includes: building a master installation of the operating system, creating its image and deploying the image onto a destination computer.

Related terms[edit]



deploy (plural deploys)

  1. (military, dated) deployment

Further reading[edit]