C15: from Old French pli fold, from plier to fold, from Latin plicāre
ply for learners of EnglishPowered by COBUILD (plaɪ)
Word forms: plies, plying, plied
If you ply someone with food or drink, you keep giving them more of it. [V n + with] ⇒ Elsie, who had been told that Maria wasn't well, plied her with food. [V n with n] ⇒ The poor priest was plied with drink at a dinner party.
If you ply someone withquestions, you keep asking them questions. [V n + with] ⇒ Giovanni plied him with questions with the intention of prolonging his stay.
If you ply a trade, you do a particular kind of work regularly as your job, especially a kind of work that involves trying to sell goods or services to people outdoors. [V n] ⇒ ...the market traders noisily plying their wares. [V + for] ⇒ It's illegal for unmarked mini-cabs to ply for hire.
If a ship, aircraft, or vehicle plies a route, it makes regular journeys along that route. [V n] ⇒ Eighteen boats plied the 1,000 miles of river along a trading route. [V prep] ⇒ The brightly-coloured boats ply between the islands.