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[plahy-er] /ˈplaɪ ər/
pliers, (sometimes used with a singular verb) small pincers with long jaws, for bending wire, holding small objects, etc. (usually used with pair of).
a person or thing that plies.
Also, especially British, plyer.
Origin of plier
1560-70; ply2 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pliers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he had an airplane of his own, he would find a hundred uses for a pair of pliers exactly like those.

    Skyrider B. M. Bower
  • When dry remove the thread with scissors and the wires by a slight twist with pliers.

    Taxidermy Leon Luther Pray
  • It did not take long to get his pliers from his toolbag and snip off a piece of the wire.

  • The same result may be brought about by the use of a pair of pliers.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • Shutting off the magnet, Arcot picked up a pair of pliers and gripped the little fragment.

    The Black Star Passes John W Campbell
  • The pliers struck the blackness and rebounded as if they had hit a rubber wall.

    Islands of Space John W Campbell
  • The window was nailed down but her pliers soon took care of that.

British Dictionary definitions for pliers


plural noun
a gripping tool consisting of two hinged arms with usually serrated jaws that close on the workpiece
Word Origin
C16: from ply1


a person who plies a trade
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pliers

"pincers," 1560s, plural agent noun from ply (n.). French cognate plieur meant "folder."



"one who folds," 1670s, agent noun from ply (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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