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allay

[uh-ley] /əˈleɪ/
verb (used with object), allayed, allaying.
1.
to put (fear, doubt, suspicion, anger, etc.) to rest; calm; quiet.
2.
to lessen or relieve; mitigate; alleviate:
to allay pain.
Origin of allay
1000
before 1000; Middle English aleyen, Old English ālecgan to put down, allay (ā- a-3 + lecgan to lay1); spelling -ll- shows influence of the now obsolete allege (< Anglo-French, Old French aleg(i)er; see allege) to alleviate, allay
Related forms
allayer, noun
unallayed, adjective
Can be confused
allay, alley, alloy, ally.
Synonyms
1. soften, assuage. 2. lighten, mollify, temper, ease.
Antonyms
1. excite.
Synonym Study
1. Allay, moderate, soothe mean to reduce excitement or emotion. To allay is to lay to rest or lull to a sense of security, possibly by making the emotion seem unjustified: to allay suspicion, anxiety, fears. To moderate is to tone down any excess and thus to restore calm: to moderate the expression of one's grief. To soothe is to exert a pacifying or tranquilizing influence: to soothe a terrified child.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for allayed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I doubt if Hephzy's suspicions were allayed, but she did not press the subject.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Some rain fell towards night, which laid the dust and allayed the heat.

  • The fear which had leaped in me was allayed by his next words.

  • My anxiety was not at all allayed by a casual encounter with Crofter in the evening.

    Tom, Dick and Harry Talbot Baines Reed
  • The many things she saw there allayed the first pangs of her disquiet.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • They would at all events have allayed the gnawing of hunger.

    Dick Cheveley W. H. G. Kingston
  • My emotions were not allayed by the sight; but I kept all expression of them out of view.

    That Affair Next Door Anna Katharine Green
  • If you can bear the change bravely, our worst fears will be allayed.

    Etheldreda the Ready Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • One of my apprehensions was allayed by the sight: the family was still there.

    The Wild Huntress Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for allayed

allay

/əˈleɪ/
verb
1.
to relieve (pain, grief, etc) or be relieved
2.
(transitive) to reduce (fear, anger, etc)
Word Origin
Old English ālecgan to put down, from lecgan to lay1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for allayed

allay

v.

Old English alecgan "to put down, remit, give up," a Germanic compound (cf. Gothic uslagjan, Old High German irleccan, German erlegen), from a- "down, aside" + lecgan "to lay" (see lay).

Early Middle English pronunciations of -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in Middle English with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy and allege, especially the latter in an obsolete sense of "to lighten," from Latin ad- "to" + levis (see lever).

Amid the overlapping of meanings that thus arose, there was developed a perplexing network of uses of allay and allege, that belong entirely to no one of the original vbs., but combine the senses of two or more of them. [OED]
The double -l- is 17c., a mistaken Latinism. Related: Allayed; allaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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