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[uh-ley] /əˈleɪ/
verb (used with object), allayed, allaying.
to put (fear, doubt, suspicion, anger, etc.) to rest; calm; quiet.
to lessen or relieve; mitigate; alleviate:
to allay pain.
Origin of allay
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 (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. soften, assuage. 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. 2. lighten, mollify, temper, ease.
1. excite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for allayed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The parched mouth and throat craved no more perpetually for the cooling drinks that had not allayed their misery.

    Bella Donna Robert Hichens
  • Some rain fell towards night, which laid the dust and allayed the heat.

  • The most fond and nervous of mothers suffered her fears to be allayed.

    Social Transformations of the Victorian Age T. H. S. (Thomas Hay Sweet) Escott
  • My anxiety was not at all allayed by a casual encounter with Crofter in the evening.

    Tom, Dick and Harry Talbot Baines Reed
  • Examine the stools carefully so that anxiety may be allayed when the foreign substance is seen.

    Papers on Health John Kirk
  • 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
  • I allayed Therese's anxiety by telling her that I could easily contrive to leave the city without being observed.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • One of my apprehensions was allayed by the sight: the family was still there.

    The Wild Huntress Mayne Reid
  • For the first time a secret anxiety and distress of mind, which she had confided to no one, was allayed.

    The Shoulders of Atlas Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for allayed


to relieve (pain, grief, etc) or be relieved
(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



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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