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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Ungerer spent a long time plying them with questions.
▪ She had been there before and was very tolerant of the young man plying her with questions.
▪ But it is up front where the experts ply their trade and both Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand are bouncing with confidence.
▪ She is only plying her trade.
▪ There was Captain Show, a seemingly respectable ex-army man, who plied his trade around the Sunningdale area of the moor.
▪ They travel all over the world plying their peculiar trade.
▪ On Saturday and Sunday evenings, Pol went out to ply the trade that was never discussed between the two women.
▪ He prospered in this country, plying a uniquely leisure-class trade, and then expressed petty contempt for his hosts.
▪ Complaints Police have received scores of complaints about dealers openly plying their trade in front of small children on street corners.
▪ Tom was not the only preacher plying his trade that day.
▪ Besides, they often have kids of their own who are plying the same runs on snowboards.
▪ But new measures have been taken, and sweeping machines constantly ply the main streets collecting rubbish.
▪ He fell in love with and married a princess after plying her father, the sultan, with many valuable gifts.
▪ Mandy had plied her with tender loving care until the tears had come.
▪ Shall we see commercial sailing vessels ply the seas again?
▪ The steam vessels plying to the island are mentioned.
▪ We had been plied with hospitality so great that no one could go away hungry.
▪ Economically, thinner ply is preferable, but needs strengthening to prevent curved steps.
▪ It is effective whether you use delicate fine yarns or a simple four ply.
▪ Today, it is more usual to replace the base with marine ply.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ply \Ply\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Plied; p. pr. & vb. n. Plying.] [OE. plien, F. plier to fold, to bend, fr. L. plicare; akin to Gr. ?, G. flechten. Cf. Apply, Complex, Display, Duplicity, Employ, Exploit, Implicate, Plait, Pliant, Flax.]

  1. To bend. [Obs.]

    As men may warm wax with handes plie.

  2. To lay on closely, or in folds; to work upon steadily, or with repeated acts; to press upon; to urge importunately; as, to ply one with questions, with solicitations, or with drink.

    And plies him with redoubled strokes

    He plies the duke at morning and at night.

  3. To employ diligently; to use steadily.

    Go ply thy needle; meddle not.

  4. To practice or perform with diligence; to work at.

    Their bloody task, unwearied, still they ply.


Ply \Ply\, v. i.

  1. To bend; to yield. [Obs.]

    It would rather burst atwo than plye.

    The willow plied, and gave way to the gust.

  2. To act, go, or work diligently and steadily; especially, to do something by repeated actions; to go back and forth; as, a steamer plies between certain ports.

    Ere half these authors be read (which will soon be with plying hard and daily).

    He was forced to ply in the streets as a porter.

    The heavy hammers and mallets plied.

  3. (Naut.) To work to windward; to beat.


Ply \Ply\, n. [Cf. F. pli, fr. plier. See Ply, v.]

  1. A fold; a plait; a turn or twist, as of a cord.

  2. Bent; turn; direction; bias.

    The late learners can not so well take the ply.

    Boswell, and others of Goldsmith's contemporaries, . . . did not understand the secret plies of his character.
    --W. Irving.

    The czar's mind had taken a strange ply, which it retained to the last.

    Note: Ply is used in composition to designate folds, or the number of webs interwoven; as, a three-ply carpet.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"work with, use," late 14c., shortened form of applien "join to, apply" (see apply). The core of this is Latin plicare "to lay, fold, twist," from PIE root *plek- "to plait, twist" (cognates: Greek plekein "to plait, twine," plektos "twisted;" Latin plectere (past participle plexus) "to plait, braid, intertwine;" Old Church Slavonic plesti "to braid, plait, twist;" Gothic flahta "braid;" Old English fleax "cloth made with flax, linen").\n

\nSense of "travel regularly" is first 1803, perhaps from earlier sense "steer a course" (1550s). Related: Plied; plies; plying.


"a layer, a fold" 1530s, from Middle French pli "a fold" (13c.), alteration of Old French ploi "fold, pleat, layer" (12c.), verbal noun from ployer (later pleier) "to bend, to fold," from Latin plicare "to fold, lay" see ply (v.1)). This is the ply in plywood.


"to bend," late 14c., plien, from Old French plier, earlier pleier "to fold, bend," from Latin plicare "to lay, fold, twist" (see ply (v.1)). Related: Plied; plies; plying.


Etymology 1 n. 1 A layer of material. 2 A strand that, twisted together with other strands, makes up yarn or rope. 3 (context colloquial English) plywood. 4 (context artificial intelligence game theory English) In two-player sequential games, a "half-turn", or one move made by one of the players. 5 (context now chiefly Scotland English) state, condition. Etymology 2

vb. 1 (context transitive English) to bend#Verb; to fold#Verb. 2 (context intransitive English) to flex#Verb. Etymology 3

vb. 1 (context transitive English) To work#Verb at diligent#Adjectively. 2 (context intransitive English) To work diligently. 3 (context transitive English) To use#Verb vigorously. 4 (context transitive English) To travel#Verb over regular#Adjectively. 5 (context transitive English) To persist#Verb in offering. 6 To press upon; to urge importunately. 7 To employ diligently; to use steadily. 8 (context nautical English) To work to windward; to beat.

  1. n. 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

  3. v. provide what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance; "The hostess provided lunch for all the guests" [syn: provide, supply, cater]

  4. apply oneself diligently; "Ply one's trade"

  5. travel a route regularly; "Ships ply the waters near the coast" [syn: run]

  6. wield vigorously; "ply an axe"

  7. use diligently; "ply your wits!"

  8. [also: plied]


Ply, Pli, Plies or Plying may refer to:

  • Ply (game theory), a turn in game play
  • PLY (file format) or Polygon File Format
  • Plying, a spinning technique to make yarn
  • Plies (rapper), American rapper
  • Pli, an academic journal
  • Ply, a layer of paper or wood, such as with toilet paper, tissue paper, paper towels or plywood
  • PLY, an implementation of the yacc parsing tool for the Python programming language
  • Tire ply, a layer of cords embedded in the rubber of a tire
Ply (game theory)

In two-player sequential games, a ply refers to one turn taken by one of the players. The word is used to clarify what is meant when one might otherwise say "turn".

"Turn" is problematic since it means different things in different traditions. For example, in standard chess terminology, one move consists of a turn by each player; therefore a ply in chess is a half-move. Thus, after 20 moves in a chess game, 40 plies have been completed—20 by white and 20 by black. In the game of Go, by contrast, a ply is the normal unit of counting moves; so for example to say that a game is 250 moves long is to imply 250 plies.

The word "ply" used as a synonym for "layer" goes back to the 15th century. Arthur Samuel used the term in its game-theoretic sense in his seminal paper on machine learning in checkers in 1959.

In computing, the concept of ply is important because one ply corresponds to one level of the game tree. The Deep Blue chess computer which defeated Kasparov in 1997 would typically search to a depth of between six and sixteen plies to a maximum of forty plies in some situations.

PLY (file format)

PLY is a computer file format known as the Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format. It was principally designed to store three-dimensional data from 3D scanners. The data storage format supports a relatively simple description of a single object as a list of nominally flat polygons. A variety of properties can be stored, including: color and transparency, surface normals, texture coordinates and data confidence values. The format permits one to have different properties for the front and back of a polygon. There are two versions of the file format, one in ASCII, the other in binary.

PLY (Python Lex-Yacc)

PLY is a parsing tool written purely in Python. It is basically a re-implementation of Lex and Yacc originally in C-language. It was written by David Beazley. Unlike Lex and Yacc in C which uses LALR parsing technique, PLY uses LR parsing which can incorporate large grammars easily. PLY also has extensive debugging and error reporting facilities.

Usage examples of "ply".

I am, to ply the baser trade and stoop to that we see and touch and smell!

Mikel had evidently met Ollia Bekke already, and plied her with questions about how one became a Warrior Mage.

James Camb, a steward on a luxury liner plying between South Africa and England, was accused of murdering a passenger, the actress Gay Gibson.

This time there would be no force, no fustigation or feathering, but only sweet fucking and maybe a bit of gamahuching, for I had already discovered that sweet Alice had the most effervescent of sensual natures when lips and tongue plied that coral nook between her shapely thighs with the expert diligence of which I was capable.

No bananas yet, so I called Glory Geis, who chortled happy welcome, and I fenderfought my way to the lake-shore fireside, where once again in the blue jump suit the graceful ragamuffin lady in her second widowhood plied me with a potion which sharpened the taste buds for what the kitchen would provide.

A common occupation of the Gitanos of Granada is working in iron, and it is not infrequent to find these caves tenanted by Gypsy smiths and their families, who ply the hammer and forge in the bowels of the earth.

And you remember the work my Gran did years ago for the Royal School of Needlework, when she was an enthusiastic patron, not only supporting financially but actually plying the needle like billy-o.

He got out henequen cable-laid rope, an assortment of ply and yarn goods, and some superlative slender abaca fiber rope.

As he buys new white shoes for his last performance in the town, he encounters a former schoolmate from Russia, a bully who once regularly attached himself to Lik and now drags him to his squalid home, plies Lik with wine he should not drink, berates him for the gap between his own misery and the cushy life he thinks Lik leads.

Branch and climbed the Henry Hill the regular artillery of the Federals limbered up smartly, galloped across the Matthews Hill, and from its nearer slope plied the retreating Confederates on the opposite slope with admirably served shell.

Near the center window stood the lutist, smiling as he softly plied his instrument.

Coffee House was one of the places he wished to visit, and having a social call to make upon one of the solicitors who plied their business there was an eminently acceptable reason.

Kelia Theims and her four dark-eyed daughters had bustled about until nearly Third, preparing a hot meal, changing the sheets on their own beds to accommodate the travelers, and plying them with questions about their beloved Minstrel.

Jim and I were plying for hire in the harbour, and we had not long to wait before we got a fare.

Then the conversation diverted onto other paths with the Italian, a man most eager to learn about foreign lands, earnestly plying Sir William and myself with questions about the country and the way it was governed.