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Etymology 1[edit]

Shortening of various words.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɒli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒli


poly (countable and uncountable, plural polys)

  1. (informal) A polytechnic.
  2. Polyethylene (polythene).
  3. Polyurethane.
  4. (chiefly computer graphics) A polygon.
    Hyponyms: rect, tri
    • 2009, Andrew Paquette, Computer Graphics for Artists II: Environments and Characters:
      The most common poly budget in use for games at the time of this writing is between 5,000 and 10,000 tris.
  5. (uncountable) Polyester.
    a cotton-poly blend
  6. (chiefly informal) Polyamory.
  7. (chiefly informal) A polyamorous person.
  8. (chiefly informal) A polycule.


poly (not comparable)

  1. (chiefly informal) Polyamorous.
    Synonym: (informal) polyam
    Coordinate term: mono
    • 2020 August 4, Cynthia McKelvey, “The Challenges of Polyamorous Parenting”, in The New York Times[1]:
      Whether the family is poly, L.G.B.T.Q. or another minority, such as a religious one, coming out is very much a personal decision.


poly (third-person singular simple present polys, present participle polying, simple past and past participle polyed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, video games, roguelikes) To polymorph; to transform by magic.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin polium, the name of a plant, perhaps Teucrium polium.

Alternative forms[edit]




  1. A whitish woolly plant (Teucrium polium) of the family Labiatae, found throughout the Mediterranean.
Usage notes[edit]
  • The name, with various prefixes, is sometimes given to other related species of the same genus.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




poly (plural polys)

  1. (slang) Clipping of polytechnique.
  2. (slang) Clipping of polyvalent.


poly m or f (plural polys)

  1. (slang) Clipping of polytechnique; itself a clipping of institut polytechnique or école polytechnique
  2. (slang) Clipping of polyvalente; itself a clipping of institut polyvalent or école polyvalente