ply

Ply means to work steadily at something. If you've got a lemonade stand and you're busy perfecting your recipe and seeking out customers, you're doing a good job of plying your trade.

A ship that regularly travels a particular route plies that route. When someone offers you food or drink, often in hopes of getting something in return, they're plying you: "If I ply you with cake, will you take my dog for a walk?" The noun ply is very different from the verb, referring to layers or strands. Four-ply yarn is made up of four strands. Plywood is made of many layers of wood glued together.

Definitions of ply
  1. verb
    use diligently
    ply your wits!”
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    type of:
    apply, employ, use, utilise, utilize
    put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
  2. verb
    wield vigorously
    ply an axe”
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    type of:
    handle, manage, wield
    manage or wield effectively
  3. verb
    apply oneself diligently
    Ply one's trade”
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    type of:
    do, perform
    get (something) done
  4. verb
    travel a route regularly
    “Ships ply the waters near the coast”
    synonyms: run
    black market, run
    deal in illegally, such as arms or liquor
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    type of:
    jaunt, travel, trip
    make a trip for pleasure
  5. verb
    give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance
    synonyms: cater, provide, supply
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    types:
    show 54 types...
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    staff
    provide with staff
    drench
    force to drink
    regale, treat
    provide with choice or abundant food or drink
    board
    provide food and lodging (for)
    feed, give
    give food to
    feed
    serve as food for; be the food for
    dish, dish out, dish up, serve, serve up
    provide (usually but not necessarily food)
    cater
    supply food ready to eat; for parties and banquets
    help, serve
    help to some food; help with food or drink
    power
    supply the force or power for the functioning of
    feed
    provide as food
    gratify, indulge, pander
    yield (to); give satisfaction to
    underlay
    provide with a base, support, lining, or backing
    fill, fulfil, fulfill, meet, satisfy
    fill or meet a want or need
    horse
    provide with a horse or horses
    shower
    provide abundantly with
    accommodate
    provide with something desired or needed
    nourish, nurture, sustain
    provide with nourishment
    fix up
    find (something or someone) for
    gutter
    provide with gutters
    humor, humour
    put into a good mood
    man
    provide with workers
    dine
    give dinner to; host for dinner
    wine
    treat to wine
    alcoholise, alcoholize
    subject to the influence of alcohol
    live in, sleep in
    live in the house where one works
    scavenge
    feed on carrion or refuse
    fodder
    give fodder (to domesticated animals)
    slop, swill
    feed pigs
    regurgitate
    feed through the beak by regurgitating previously swallowed food
    corn
    feed (cattle) with corn
    malnourish, undernourish
    provide with insufficient quality or quantity of nourishment
    overfeed
    feed excessively
    spoonfeed
    feed with a spoon
    force-feed
    feed someone who will not or cannot eat
    plank
    cook and serve on a plank
    drive
    cause to function by supplying the force or power for or by controlling
    feast, feed
    gratify
    spree
    engage without restraint in an activity and indulge, as when shopping
    answer
    be satisfactory for; meet the requirements of or serve the purpose of
    remount
    provide with fresh horses
    lunch
    provide a midday meal for
    breakfast
    provide breakfast for
    breastfeed, give suck, lactate, nurse, suck, suckle, wet-nurse
    give suck to
    bottlefeed
    feed (infants) with a bottle
    sow one's oats, sow one's wild oats
    live promiscuously and self-indulgently
    appease, quell, stay
    overcome or allay
    inject
    feed intravenously
    carry
    be able to feed
    feed on, feed upon
    be sustained by
    allay, assuage, quench, slake
    satisfy (thirst)
    aliment, nourish, nutrify
    give nourishment to
    range
    let eat
    crop, graze, pasture
    let feed in a field or pasture or meadow
    type of:
    give
    transfer possession of something concrete or abstract to somebody
  6. noun
    one of the strands twisted together to make yarn or rope or thread; often used in combination
    “three- ply cord”
    “four- ply yarn”
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    type of:
    strand
    line consisting of a complex of fibers or filaments that are twisted together to form a thread or a rope or a cable
  7. noun
    (usually in combinations) one of several layers of cloth or paper or wood as in plywood
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    type of:
    bed, layer
    single thickness of usually some homogeneous substance
  8. verb
    join together as by twisting, weaving, or molding
    ply fabric”
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    type of:
    bring together, join
    cause to become joined or linked
Word Family