Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: apply

ply

1 verb
     
Related topics: Water
ply1 past tense and past participle plied, present participle plying, third person singular plies
1

ply your trade

literary to work at your business, especially buying and selling things on the street:
In some areas, drug dealers openly ply their trade on street corners.
2 [intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition] writtenTTW if a ship, bus etc plies between two places or across a place, it does that journey regularly
ply between/across etc
Two ferries ply between Tripoli and Malta every day.
3

ply for hire/trade

British English to try and get customers or passengers, in order to do business:
Continental airlines ply for trade in the UK.
4 [transitive] old use or literary to use a tool skilfully

ply somebody with something

phrasal verb
1 to keep giving someone large quantities of food or drink:
The local people plied me with beer, until I could barely move.
2

ply somebody with questions

to keep asking someone questions

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