Intermediate+ Word of the Day: deploy

deploy (verb) /dɪˈplɔɪ/ LISTEN

To deploy is a term used in the military to mean ‘to spread out troops so as to form an extended front or line’ and also ‘to arrange things so that they’re ready to be used’ and also ‘to come into a position ready for use.’ Although this is mostly used as a military term, it is sometimes used figuratively in everyday language, mostly related to sales, resources, or strategies.

Example sentences

  • Troops were deployed along the border.
  • A battery of new missiles is being deployed.
  • As the plane approached the runway, its landing gear deployed.
  • Management is discussing how to deploy the funding effectively.
  • The marketing team is deploying a new strategy.

Words often used with deploy

deployment fever (military slang): when a soldier starts to get frustrated at being deployed away from his/her family for a long time.

deployment baby (military slang): a baby born while his/her father is deployed away from home.

In pop culture

Listen to Welsh heavy metal group Bullet For My Valentine singing their song “Army of Noise” here:

Listen out for the lyric “We will deploy our army.”

Did you know?

Deploy is one of several words in English built around the root ploy, which comes from Latin, via French, where it has the meaning of ‘bend,’ or ‘fold.’

Other forms

deployment (noun)


Deploy was first used in the late 15th century, and was borrowed from the French verb déployer (to unroll or unfold), from the Old French desploiier, and can be traced back to the Latin verb displicāre (to unfold or scatter). In Latin, it was formed adding the prefix dis– (which is used to add the sense of ‘not, lack of,’ ‘the opposite of’ or ‘apart, away’ to many words) to the verb plicāre (to fold). The latter part can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root plek-. Deploy is related to many other words in English, including ploy, as you read above, which means ‘a tactic, strategy or gimmick,’ and employ, which now means ‘to use’ or ‘to give work to,’ but also implicate, imply, apply, complicate, duplicate, multiply, perplex, plait, pliable, ply and replicate. Its more specific, military meaning dates back to the late 18th century, and has become the most common use.

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