ply

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English pleit, plit, plite (a fold, pleat, wrinkle; braid, strand in a braided cord, ply), from Anglo-Norman pli, plei, pleit,[1] and Middle French pli, ploy, ply (a fold, pleat; joint in armour; situation, state) (modern French pli (a fold, pleat)), from plier, ployer (to bend, fold),[2] from Latin plicāre, present active infinitive of plicō (to bend, fold, roll up), from Proto-Indo-European *pleḱ- (to fold, plait, weave).

Noun[edit]

ply (countable and uncountable, plural ply or plies or plys) (rare)

  1. A layer of material.
    two-ply toilet paper
    • 1999, Twelfth International Conference on VLSI Design: Proceedings: January 7–10, 1999, Goa, India, Los Alamitos, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society Press, →ISBN, page 313:
      It is possible to have a very well load balanced partition but with such a high ply that its slowest piece is slower than a not-so-well balanced partition with less ply.
  2. A strand that, twisted together with other strands, makes up rope or yarn.
  3. (colloquial) Short for plywood.
  4. (artificial intelligence, combinatorial game theory) In two-player sequential games, a "half-turn" or a move made by one of the players.
    He proposed to build Deep Purple, a super-computer capable of 24-ply look-ahead for chess.
  5. (now chiefly Scotland) A condition, a state.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], OCLC 731622352, page 75:
      You may be ſure, in the ply I was now taking, I had no objection to the propoſal, and was rather a tiptoe for its accompliſhment.

Translations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English plīen, pli, plie (to bend, fold, mould, shape; to be flexible; to be submissive, humble oneself; to compel someone to submit),[3] from Anglo-Norman plier, plaier, pleier, ploier, and Middle French plier, ployer (to bend, fold; to be submissive; to compel someone to submit) (modern French plier, ployer),[4] from Old French ploiier, pleier (to fold),[3] from Latin plicāre (to fold); see further at etymology 1. The word is cognate with Catalan plegar (to bend, fold), Italian piegare (to bend, fold, fold up), Old Occitan plegar, plejar, pleyar (to fold) (modern Occitan plegar), Spanish plegar (to fold).[4]

Verb[edit]

ply (third-person singular simple present plies, present participle plying, simple past and past participle plied)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To bend; to fold; to mould; (figuratively) to adapt, to modify; to change (a person's) mind, to cause (a person) to submit.
  2. (intransitive) To bend, to flex; to be bent by something, to give way or yield (to a force, etc.).
    • 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “[The Fables of Anianus, &c.] Fab[le] CCXV. An Oak and a Willow.”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: [], London: Printed for R[ichard] Sare, [], OCLC 228727523, page 187:
      The Oak Upbraided the Willow, that it was Weak and Wavering, and gave way to Every Blaſt. [] Some very little while after This Diſpute, it Blew a Violent Storm. The Willow Ply’d, and gave way to the Guſt, and ſtill recover’d it ſelf again, without receiving any Damage: But the Oak was Stubborn, and choſe rather to Break than Bend.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From apply;[5] compare Middle English plīen, pli, plie, pleie (to place (something) around, on, or over, to cover; to apply, use; to strive),[6] short for aplīen, applīen (to combine, join; to attach; to assemble; to use, be of use; to allot; to apply; to inflict; to go; to ply, steer; to comply, submit), from Old French applier, aplier, aploier (to bend; to apply),[7] from Latin applicāre, present active infinitive of applicō (to apply; to attach, join; to add), from ad- (prefix meaning ‘to, towards’) + plicō (to bend, fold, roll up); see further at etymology 1.

Verb[edit]

ply (third-person singular simple present plies, present participle plying, simple past and past participle plied)

  1. (transitive) To work at (something) diligently.
    He plied his trade as carpenter for forty-three years.
    • 1595, G[eorge] P[eele], The Old Wiues Tale. [], printed at London: By Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Raph Hancocke, and Iohn Hardie, OCLC 222301598; reprinted as The Old Wives Tale, 1595 (The Malone Society Reprints; 7), Oxford: Printed for the Malone Society by Horace Hart M.A., at the Oxford University Press, 1908 (February 1909 reprint), OCLC 474951709, line 720:
      Ply you your work or elſe you are like to ſmart.
    • 1666, Edm[und] Waller, Instructions to a Painter, for the Drawing of the Posture & Progress of His Ma[jes]ties Forces at Sea, under the Command of His Highness Royal. [], London: Printed for Henry Herringman, [], OCLC 15729696, page 13:
      But English Courage growing as they fight, / In danger, noise, and slaughter takes delight, / Their bloody Task, unwearied, still they ply, / Only restrain’d by Death, or Victory: []
    • 1877, Robert Louis Stevenson, “An Apology for Idlers”, in Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers, London: C[harles] Kegan Paul & Co., [], published 1881, OCLC 504702577, page 124:
      Many who have "plied their book diligently," and know all about some one branch or another of accepted lore, come out of the study with an ancient and owl-like demeanour, and prove dry, stockish, and dyspeptic in all the better and brighter parts of life.
  2. (transitive) To wield or use (a tool, a weapon, etc.) steadily or vigorously.
    He plied his ax with bloody results.
  3. (transitive) To press upon; to urge persistently.
    to ply someone with questions or solicitations
  4. (transitive) To persist in offering something to, especially for the purpose of inducement or persuasion.
    to ply someone with drink
  5. (transitive, transport) To travel over (a route) regularly.
    to ply the seven seas
    The steamer plies between several ports on the coast.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To work diligently.
  7. (intransitive, nautical, obsolete) To manoeuvre a sailing vessel so that the direction of the wind changes from one side of the vessel to the other; to work to windward, to beat, to tack.
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ pleit, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ ply, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 plīen, v.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 16 November 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 ply, v.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2006.
  5. ^ ply, v.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2006.
  6. ^ plīen, v.(2)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 16 November 2018.
  7. ^ ap(p)līen, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 16 November 2018.

Further reading[edit]