Main definitions of ply in English

: ply1ply2

ply1

noun

  • 1A thickness or layer of a folded or laminated material:

    ‘tiles that have a black PVC ply in the lamination’
    • ‘As per latest research, bamboo can be used for construction of houses of permanent natures, doors, window frames, corrugated sheets, and bamboo ply etc.’
    • ‘The bathroom interior, however, with its combination of ply, porcelain and white marble, is a moment of unexpected luxury.’
    • ‘They used to joke that I control the ply of the toilet paper on the show.’
    • ‘The rush into single-ply roofing of the 1980's has established single ply as a durable, reliable alternative to bituminous roofing.’
    • ‘Gauze or gauze-like products are typically manufactured as a single piece of material folded into a several ply gauze pad.’
    • ‘Methods of sealing roof drain pipes in single ply synthetic plastic roof cover systems and roof cover systems employing such drain pipe sealing assemblies’
    • ‘Synthetic single ply roof systems are not the cheapest way to reroof a mobile home in the short term.’
    • ‘No ply, glass fibre or any other modern materials were employed.’
    • ‘The chassis was a typical composite ‘sandwich’ with inner and outer skins made up of woven laminated plies.’
    • ‘With built-up membranes, ‘thicker is better’ refers to the number of plies and not necessarily the measured thickness of the finished roof.’
    • ‘This can be done by increasing the number of plies and upgrading the surfacing in a built-up roofing system or installing a thicker, fully adhered single-ply membrane.’
    layer, thickness, strand, sheet, leaf, fold, insertion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually in combination] A strand of yarn or rope:
      [as modifier] ‘four-ply yarn’
      • ‘By twisting these single yards together to form the ply yard, the fabric is more resilient and long lasting.’
      • ‘The ply yarns are twisted together to form cord- and the cord is the actual material used in the weaving process.’
      • ‘I took a skinny 4 ply yarn and knitted it double.’
      • ‘A rope is a ply of natural threads or synthetic fibers.’
      • ‘It's been a long time since I've touched this sweater and it's in 4 ply wool.’
      • ‘This colour has been discontinued for some time now and while I still like it, I've got a lot of 4 ply cotton in stash and I'm offering this at $40 the bag.’
      • ‘An 8 ply acrylic wool wick is placed in the soil mixture and through the bottom into a container (like a margarine container) with a weak solution which is then taken up by the plant as required.’
      • ‘A nice dense thread or 3-8 ply yarn seams to work quite nicely for a blanket stitch.’
      • ‘Can anyone imagine anything more boring than 4 ply, stocking stitch in a dark blue, that snaps whenever you pull too hard?’
    2. 1.2 The number of multiple layers or strands of which something is made:
      ‘the yarn can be any ply from two to eight’
      • ‘Even things like toilet paper came in only 1 ply or 2.’
      • ‘Another benefit of multiple plies is their insulating quality.’
      • ‘So 4 - ply shouldn't be relegated to baby stuff and socks, but should be used for a special garment for a special person.’
      • ‘The ply is a factor that defines the number of single yards which are twisted to become the ply yard from which the bedding is woven.’
      • ‘Mr. Johnston noted that it was apparent that the roof of the stair tower had been done after the completion of the main roof, thus resulting in some 8 plies of felt building up at the connection.’
    3. 1.3[usually in combination] A reinforcing layer of fabric in a tyre:
      [as modifier] ‘a six-ply whitewall tire’
  • 2

    short for plywood
    • ‘Mr Constable has also designed his own home kitchen using hoop pine and maple ply.’
    • ‘The skin is fibreglass over a thin layer of plywood, which is itself supported by a skeleton of thicker ply, stiffened by a steel structure.’
    • ‘Although this route is more expensive than a roof coating, the single ply can be installed as a re-cover, saving the cost of tear off, if the existing roof is less than 25 percent wet.’
    • ‘They have curved doors made of marine-grade ply with a lacquer finish.’
    • ‘The decks are marine ply, the spars were made out of local timber and the design was kept close to the original.’
    • ‘The association had pleaded for an increase of 5 per cent in the price of commercial plywood and 10 per cent on commercial and waterproof board and waterproof ply.’
    • ‘Made from leather, moulded rosewood ply and aluminium.’
    • ‘The table, as well as the maple ply and cast-steel dining chairs, are easily wiped clean after meals.’
  • 3[mass noun] (in game theory) the number of levels at which branching occurs in a tree of possible outcomes, typically corresponding to the number of moves ahead (in chess strictly half-moves ahead) considered by a computer program.

    • ‘This creates a ‘tree’ of analysis with moves branching at each ply.’
    • ‘This will likely include dozens of lines and several first ply candidate moves.’
    1. 3.1[count noun] A half-move (i.e. one player's move) in computer chess.
      • ‘After a few minutes Sargon 4 was up to 7 ply and it said the best move was 19 Bd6.’
      • ‘For example, suppose the chances that the move at each ply of a specific line your are considering are only 40% each.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘fold’): from French pli fold, from the verb plier, from Latin plicare to fold.

Pronunciation:

ply

/plʌɪ/

Main definitions of ply in English

: ply1ply2

ply2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Work steadily with (a tool):

    ‘a tailor delicately plying his needle’
    • ‘Penhall plies his pen widely, commenting on the dilapidated National Health Service and the nature of perception, sanity, and normalcy.’
    • ‘That's like seeing a psychiatrist plying a tendon hammer, or an orthopaedic surgeon with a pleasant bedside manner nice in a curiously old fashioned way.’
    • ‘He could ride, swim, dive in deep rivers and the sea, ply the whip, climb trees, scale cliffs without a rope, bring down birds and beasts with arrow and sling.’
    • ‘He wet his hands in a small bowl of water, and gently wiped away any dust from the stone before plying his tools to it again.’
    use, wield, work, work with, employ, operate, utilize, manipulate, handle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Work steadily at (one's business or trade):
      ‘for three years he plied a profitable export trade between England and Australia’
      • ‘According to owner Ah Hua, who has been plying a roaring trade since he opened for business 14 years ago, the non-eatery feel is what makes the place so popular.’
      • ‘Thus, Cottage Industry's workers plied their trades in rooms filled with period furniture, family photos, handmade quilts, paintings and vintage clothing.’
      • ‘Importantly, 1,900 postgraduate research students also ply their trade here, firing up the boiler of Scotland's economic engine.’
      • ‘Down on the floor of the exchange are phalanxes of desks, where some two dozen brokers ply their trade.’
      • ‘Ironically Gourlay now spends much of the year plying his professional trade in Australia and is expected to base himself Down Under in the not-too-distant future.’
      • ‘The best education I got after design grad school was plying my trade within a large organization.’
      • ‘He's plying his trade as an electrician in the windy city, the more things change the more they stay the same.’
      engage in, carry on, be engaged in, pursue, conduct, follow, practise, work at, occupy oneself with, busy oneself with
      View synonyms
  • 2[no object, with adverbial of direction] (of a vessel or vehicle) travel regularly over a route, typically for commercial purposes:

    ‘ferries ply across a strait to the island’
    • ‘Steam-driven vessels were plying up and down the eastern coast of Britain as early as 1821.’
    • ‘Once the underpass is through vehicles plying on Chord Road can cross this junction without any interruption as in the case of Mekhri Circle.’
    • ‘Strict enforcement of parking regulations is indeed a prerequisite to tide over the present crisis caused by the increasing number of motor vehicles plying through the narrow roads in the State.’
    • ‘Since medieval times a ferry had plied across the river at this point - but with the building of the railway station, it became increasingly obvious a more substantial crossing was needed.’
    • ‘Buses ply frequently between Hospet and Hampi, and budget tourists can easily hire cycles or mopeds.’
    • ‘The vehicles plying on Bangalore roads are growing every day.’
    • ‘The ferries plying in these rivers provide cheap transportation to many villagers and poor people who live in remote areas, not accessible by road.’
    • ‘Incidentally, the new boat will ply on the Ernakulam-Vypeen route.’
    • ‘The number of vehicles plying on our roads is increasing in alarming proportion posing threat to pedestrians and vehicle users.’
    • ‘Previously only a few rickshaws or horse-drawn carriages plied along that road; now big motorcars raced about all day.’
    • ‘Around 2,200 ferries ply 40 of the major rivers.’
    • ‘That the number of vehicles plying on the city roads has multiplied cannot be disputed.’
    • ‘Over 50,000 commercial vessels ply the straits each year.’
    • ‘The company now has 115 buses plying around a dozen regular routes and a further 20 routes at peak time.’
    • ‘The additional buses would be run on those long routes where no buses were plying for the past several years due to the shortage and will spell more comfort for the bus passengers, who had to change buses to reach a destination.’
    • ‘During the monsoons the ferries stop plying and the Gateway looks a trifle forlorn without the seething crowds that normally sit around it, shooting the breeze when the weather is gentler.’
    go regularly, travel regularly, make regular journeys, travel, go back and forth, shuttle, commute
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    1. 2.1[with object] Regularly travel over (a route):
      ‘the fleet has plied the Bristol Channel since Victorian times’
      • ‘Instead of plying the expressways, they now circle the inspection centres for confused accident victims to go to them.’
      • ‘The riverboat will ply the waterways between Amsterdam and Brussels, with prices starting at just £7 per night.’
      • ‘Vast cruise liners of 150,000 tons - floating resorts more than twice the size of the QE2 - ply the oceans.’
      • ‘Now, the barge will ply the canal again, as it once did in the 1940s.’
      • ‘The Malacca Strait, a busy sealane with more than 50,000 commercial ships plying it annually, is also a hotbed for pirates.’
      • ‘If you can't face the steep walk, three funicular trams ply the gruelling route.’
      • ‘Its lack of depth makes it more difficult each year to handle the newer, larger and deeper vessels plying the southern African route.’
      • ‘For now, the airport survives as a hub for older cargo planes plying the polar route.’
      • ‘The Cape then was a regular stopover for trading vessels plying the Europe-East Indies route.’
      • ‘In 1912 the SS Earnslaw began to ply the lake and you still can take a trip on this historic steamer.’
      • ‘The driver refused to comply and stopped the bus in the middle of the road, before alerting his fellow drivers plying other routes.’
      • ‘And there just behind us, over the fence outside the park, a steady flow of modern red London buses plied their scheduled routes up the Seven Sisters Road.’
      • ‘Airlines will be free to ply routes between any EU city and any US one, as well as to go further afield.’
      • ‘All in all, Indonesia lost over half the planes plying its domestic routes.’
      • ‘We are not willing to ply the route causing trouble to ourselves or people, " he said.’
      • ‘Roman Paszke hails from the Polish shores of the Baltic Sea, where he started plying the waters at 11.’
      • ‘The Pride of Rotterdam, which plies the route between Europort and Hull, is the largest ship of its kind in the world.’
      • ‘Birds ply each of these smaller flyways according to their custom and can be counted on to return year after year.’
      • ‘She plied her Pacific route until near the turn of the century, when she was sold to the Italian firm, based in Genoa.’
      • ‘The ancient Egyptians were seafarers and Roman galleys, Phoenician ships and the fleet of the mighty Ottoman Empire plied these waters.’
  • 3ply someone withProvide someone with (food or drink) in a continuous or insistent way:

    ‘she plied me with tea and scones’
    • ‘More importantly, there is an outstanding semi-private beach, again with plenty of beach beds and sunshades and with faultless waiter service to ply you with cold drinks.’
    • ‘It was possible to just laze around on deck on one of the many sun-loungers soaking up the rays while attentive staff members plied you with ice cold drinks.’
    • ‘Maybe if I ply him with drink on Saturday, he'll forgive me.’
    • ‘She was plying her neighbours with cups of tea in an effort to brace them against the biting chilling wind.’
    • ‘While I plied him with filtered water, he patiently answered questions for a couple of hours.’
    • ‘He plied the boys with treats - such as cakes, sweets and alcopops - and money.’
    • ‘But when playtime rolls around my workmates are eager to ply me with stiff drinks.’
    • ‘They fed us dinner, plied us with tea and laid on a hikers' breakfast.’
    • ‘Jacob's mom and dad fed us, plied us with drink, and made us feel all relaxed and comfy.’
    • ‘Wherever I went I was plied with cigarettes, tea and pastries.’
    • ‘Often the hotel rooms would be double booked, so it was our job to make sure the guests came straight off the coach and into the welcome party, where they would be plied with local drink.’
    • ‘That's my game - ply everyone with food and make the world a better place.’
    • ‘They used to ply us with so much drink the night before you weren't in any shape to play.’
    • ‘He also claimed his alcohol problem made it difficult for him to distinguish fact from fiction and that the journalist took his comments ‘out of context’ after plying him with drink at a hotel.’
    • ‘We were then ushered down into a holding area where we were plied with drink and nibbles.’
    • ‘He likes to ply me full of whiskey, fill and refill my glass.’
    • ‘When a company is introducing a new product, they will invite members of the press to see the unveiling, often plying them with free food and alcohol to help seal the deal.’
    • ‘As he plied me with mint tea and Belgian chocolates it struck me that, despite appearances, he was a lonely and frightened man.’
    • ‘He comes over to my house and plies me with Italian food.’
    • ‘You go to a reception and the waiting staff fall over themselves to ply you with drink.’
    provide, supply, keep supplying, lavish, shower, regale, load, heap
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Direct (numerous questions) at someone:
      ‘she plied him with questions about his visit’
      • ‘Then the camera starts to roll and they start to ply me with a string of questions that I seem to remember were on the application.’
      • ‘He was unfailingly helpful to the researchers and lay-people who plied him with questions from all four comers of the globe.’
      • ‘And the unusually bright Lester has been plying her with all kinds of questions about death and God that she can't really answer.’
      • ‘He looks forward to plying the winemakers with questions about their products.’
      • ‘With my father in the room, I'd have felt safe enough to remain but I was always sent out and therefore unable to answer the questions my older sisters plied me with.’
      • ‘Yesterday seems forgotten as he talks to Bren and plies her with questions about other schools we've attended.’
      • ‘Still as popular as in his playing days, and looking not a day older, Rhodes was plied with questions about his own career, and also about the current South African team.’
      • ‘At a news conference after yesterday's meeting, which was billed to have transformation in sport as the main discussion point, journalists plied Balfour with questions about the alleged remarks.’
      • ‘I didn't focus the talk on young people, but one father came up to me afterward and plied me with questions about what kind of music he should let his kids listen to, what kind of media, films, TV programs, etc.’
      bombard, assail, besiege, beset, pester, plague, harass, importune
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • ply for hire

    • Search for or be available for customers to hire:

      ‘he augmented his income by plying for hire as a ferryman’
      ‘continental air companies will be able to ply for hire in the UK’
      • ‘The court heard it was an offence to ply for hire without a hackney carriage licence and private hire drivers must have a pre-booking for a passenger to go to a specific destination.’
      • ‘‘This is a matter for concern because only Craven taxis should be plying for hire in the town,’ he said.’
      • ‘If they do not pay, the Council is expected to prosecute them for illegally plying for hire under the Road Traffic Act in a magistrates court.’
      • ‘But taxis can ply for hire and minicabs should only respond to calls.’
      • ‘These vehicles are the only ones licensed and insured to ply for hire, that is take passengers from the taxi ranks or be hailed in the street.’
      • ‘However, realistically, it is expected that some vehicles will be unable to rank at any given time because they will be either plying for hire, hired or not working.’
      • ‘Wright, who is self-employed, admitted plying for hire without a hackney carriage licence, and driving without insurance.’
      • ‘Scottish ministers have rejected advice from the UK government and consumer groups to scrap controls on the number of cabs plying for hire.’

Origin

Late Middle English: shortening of apply.

Pronunciation:

ply

/plʌɪ/