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ply1

[plahy] /plaɪ/
verb (used with object), plied, plying.
1.
to work with or at diligently; employ busily; use:
to ply the needle.
2.
to carry on, practice, or pursue busily or steadily:
to ply a trade.
3.
to treat with or apply to (something) repeatedly (often followed by with):
to ply a fire with fresh fuel.
4.
to assail persistently:
to ply horses with a whip.
5.
to supply with or offer something pressingly to:
to ply a person with drink.
6.
to address (someone) persistently or importunately, as with questions, solicitations, etc.; importune.
7.
to pass over or along (a river, stream, etc.) steadily or on a regular basis:
boats that ply the Mississippi.
verb (used without object), plied, plying.
8.
to run or travel regularly over a fixed course or between certain places, as a boat, bus, etc.
9.
to perform one's work or office busily or steadily:
to ply with the oars; to ply at a trade.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English plien, aphetic variant of aplien to apply
Related forms
plyingly, adverb
Synonyms
2. follow, exercise.

ply2

[plahy] /plaɪ/
noun, plural plies.
1.
a thickness or layer.
2.
Automotive. a layer of reinforcing fabric for a tire.
3.
a unit of yarn:
single ply.
4.
one of the sheets of veneer that are glued together to make plywood.
5.
Informal. plywood.
6.
bent, bias, or inclination.
verb (used with object), plied, plying.
7.
British Dialect. to bend, fold, or mold.
verb (used without object), plied, plying.
8.
Obsolete. to bend, incline, or yield.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English plien (v.) < Middle French plier to fold, bend, variant of ployer, Old French pleier < Latin plicāre to fold; see fold1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for ply
  • The break may be in only one ply or it may be in all of them, but in any case it is always the inside ply that breaks first.
  • With that high-tech grace-note, a new sort of airship could soon safely ply the ocean blue.
  • Some experts consider the ship's demise a fluke-it was built to ply icy waters and was helmed by an experienced captain.
  • Engineers with earnest faces and trim haircuts ply the halls of this diversified energy concern.
  • They are the longest-living marine species to ever ply the world's oceans.
  • The freedom of transport companies to ply for hire outside their domestic markets is known in the trade as cabotage.
  • Some jurisdictions still ply this trade today and should be put out of business.
  • To harvest shark fins, fishers ply the world's ocean.
  • Smart new school buses run by the municipal government ply up and down the hillsides.
  • If she tolerates his company, he will ply her with fresh fish, directing them headfirst into her beak.
British Dictionary definitions for ply

ply1

/plaɪ/
verb (mainly transitive) plies, plying, plied
1.
to carry on, pursue, or work at (a job, trade, etc)
2.
to manipulate or wield (a tool)
3.
to sell (goods, wares, etc), esp at a regular place
4.
(usually foll by with) to provide (with) or subject (to) repeatedly or persistently he plied us with drink the whole evening, to ply a horse with a whip, he plied the speaker with questions
5.
(intransitive) to perform or work steadily or diligently to ply with a spade
6.
(also intransitive) (esp of a ship) to travel regularly along (a route) or in (an area) to ply between Dover and Calais, to ply the trade routes
Word Origin
C14 plye, short for aplye to apply

ply2

/plaɪ/
noun (pl) plies
1.
  1. a layer, fold, or thickness, as of cloth, wood, yarn, etc
  2. (in combination) four-ply
2.
a thin sheet of wood glued to other similar sheets to form plywood
3.
one of the strands twisted together to make rope, yarn, etc
verb (transitive)
4.
to twist together (two or more single strands) to make yarn
Word Origin
C15: from Old French pli fold, from plier to fold, from Latin plicāre
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 ply
v.

"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" (cf. 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").

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

"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.

n.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ply in Technology

mathematics, data
1. Of a node in a tree, the number of branches between that node and the root.
2. Of a tree, the maximum ply of any of its nodes.
(1998-12-29)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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