Deploy is not a good synonym for use, utilize, or employ, because it has a narrower sense and specific associations. The word appears in the context of military preparation (“deploy troops”); suggests a purposeful arrangement, often spatial, to make something possible (“deploy a parachute”); or stresses instrumentality, making use of something to achieve an end (“deploy resources”). See the definitions and examples given in Merriam-Webster and Oxford Dictionaries.

Caution: if you choose a term that blurs or compromises your meaning for the sake of sounding more learned, important, or scientific, you run the risk of falling into the embarrassment of “windyfoggery” (Bernstein 480–82).

Works Cited

Bernstein, Theodore M. The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage. Atheneum, 1985.

“Deploy, Vb.” Merriam-Webster,

“Deploy, Vb.” Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford UP,

Photo of Michael Kandel

Michael Kandel

Michael Kandel edited publications at the MLA for twenty-one years. He also translated several Polish writers, among them Stanisław Lem, Andrzej Stasiuk, Marek Huberath, and Paweł Huelle, and edited, for Harcourt Brace, several American writers, among them Jonathan Lethem, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Morrow, and Patricia Anthony.