Definition of ploy in English:



  • 1A cunning plan or action designed to turn a situation to one's own advantage.

    ‘the president has dismissed the referendum as a ploy to buy time’
    • ‘We sell art that people love and don't bother with all these marketing ploys about art as an investment.’
    • ‘If you can get beyond the fact that there's all sorts of contrived controversy thrown into the TV show, and deliberate ploys to create situations that will boost ratings, the level of talent is really pretty amazing.’
    • ‘She continues: ‘Again, marketing hype and ploys can at most sell the first book for you.’’
    • ‘He remains cool under pressure, and even his temper outbursts turn out to be mere ploys to gain advantage.’
    • ‘Some seem to regard it as a kind of elitist ploy designed to make things difficult for the disadvantaged.’
    • ‘Was it a ploy in their strategy for later deals of product endorsements?’
    • ‘And he said alcohol companies were introducing very sharp marketing ploys aimed at encouraging young people to consume drinks.’
    • ‘He's always full of games and little plans and ploys,’ said Watson.’
    • ‘We reckon it's nothing more than a cunning ploy to get more stuff written about the band.’
    • ‘It was obviously a cunning ploy to secure column inches for a particular company.’
    • ‘It's a clever ploy and takes advantage of the natural courtesy of the public.’
    • ‘This is a clever ploy to hook the booklovers after giving them the taste of the best of fiction reads.’
    • ‘My opponent became increasingly frustrated by my beginner's luck and masterminded a cunning ploy to level the scores.’
    • ‘I condemn this Government for its cynical ploy to try to buy the votes of students.’
    • ‘He believed that the revisions made to the party were mere marketing ploys rather than the result of true ideological conversion.’
    • ‘In fact, I knew Laras and what she was all about, her tricks and ploys to win people over.’
    • ‘If you want to make the most of your money, ignore all marketing ploys.’
    • ‘Others have disguised price hikes in ingenious marketing ploys that give the ticket holder so-called " front-of-the-line " privileges for almost double the regular price.’
    plan, scheme, tactic, manoeuvre, move, course of action, line of action, gambit, device, wile
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An activity done for amusement.
      ‘the eternal cross-stitch I was set to do before I could indulge my own ploys’


Late 17th century (originally Scots and northern English in the sense ‘pastime’): of unknown origin. The notion of ‘a calculated plan’ dates from the 1950s.