Meaning of “ply” in the English Dictionary

"ply" in English

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uk /plaɪ/ us /plaɪ/

plynoun [ U ]

uk /plaɪ/ us /plaɪ/

the particular number of threads from which wool, rope, etc. is made, used as a measure of its thickness:

six balls of four-ply (wool)
What ply do you need for that knitting pattern?

the particular number of layers from which plywood or tissue is formed, used as a measure of its thickness:

Will three-ply (= woolmade from three layers stuck together) be strong enough for making a shelf?

(Definition of “ply” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"ply" in American English

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plynoun [ U ]

us /plɑɪ/

ply noun [ U ] (LAYER)

a layer of something such as wood or paper, or a thread that is wrapped with other threads to form yarn (= wool cord) or rope:

two-ply facial tissue


us /plɑɪ/

ply verb (WORK)

[ T ] to work at something regularly:

New buses plied the city's bus routes this week.

ply verb (TRAVEL)

[ I/T ] to travel over distances regularly by boat or other form of transport:

[ T ] Large numbers of vessels plied the waters between New York and Cape Hatteras.

(Definition of “ply” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"ply" in Business English

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uk /plaɪ/ us

[ T ] COMMERCE to sell something:

ply (your) wares Companies should be accountable for the wares that they ply.

[ I or T ] TRANSPORT to make a journey regularly:

There are fears about the safety of some of the ageing vessels that ply Aegean waters.
ply between sth At present, big cargo ships plying between the east and west coasts of India have to circumnavigate Sri Lanka.
The airline recently founded a new operator to ply long-haul routes to China and Britain starting in July.
ply for business/hire/trade

COMMERCE to try to get customers for your business in a public place, for example, as a taxi driver, by driving around or waiting in a regular place:

London's formidable black taxis enjoy a lucrative near monopoly over plying for hire on the capital's streets.
ply your trade

to do your job:

Having worked as a government lawyer for 15 years, he is departing for the private sector to ply his trade as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “ply” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)