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[verb uh-lahy; noun al-ahy, uh-lahy] /verb əˈlaɪ; noun ˈæl aɪ, əˈlaɪ/
verb (used with object), allied, allying.
to unite formally, as by treaty, league, marriage, or the like (usually followed by with or to):
Russia allied itself to France.
to associate or connect by some mutual relationship, as resemblance or friendship.
verb (used without object), allied, allying.
to enter into an alliance; join; unite.
noun, plural allies.
a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose:
Canada and the United States were allies in World War II.
Biology. a plant, animal, or other organism bearing an evolutionary relationship to another, often as a member of the same family:
The squash is an ally of the watermelon.
a person who associates or cooperates with another; supporter.
Origin of ally
1250-1300; Middle English alien < Anglo-French al(l)ier, aillaier, Old French alier < Latin alligāre to bind to. See alloy
Related forms
alliable, adjective
preally, noun, plural preallies.
preally, verb, preallied, preallying.
Can be confused
allay, alley, alloy, ally (see synonym study at allay)
1. unify, join, combine, wed. 4. partner, confederate. 6. friend, aide, accomplice, accessory, assistant, abettor; colleague, coadjutor, auxiliary, helper.
4, 6. enemy, foe, adversary.


an adverbial suffix attached to certain adjectives with stems in -ic that have no forms ending in -ical: terrifically.
-al1 + -ly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for ally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To McCalloway his thoughts had turned for the succour of a steadying calm—and that one ally was no longer in reach.

    The Tempering Charles Neville Buck
  • Without question, in this tall stranger Big Tom had an ally.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • He was Pharisaic ally thankful that he was not as that conglomerate group in the Bannister box.

    The Trumpeter Swan Temple Bailey
  • When one group unites its power, those nearby must ally for protection.

    Victory Lester del Rey
  • He must ally himself with no party and yet command the confidence of all parties.

British Dictionary definitions for ally


verb (əˈlaɪ) -lies, -lying, -lied usually foll by to or with
to unite or be united, esp formally, as by treaty, confederation, or marriage
(transitive; usually passive) to connect or be related, as through being similar or compatible
noun (ˈælaɪ; əˈlaɪ) (pl) -lies
a country, person, or group allied with another
a plant, animal, substance, etc, closely related to another in characteristics or form
Word Origin
C14: from Old French alier to join, from Latin alligāre to bind to, from ligāre to bind
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 ally

late 13c., "to join in marriage," from Old French alier "combine, unite," from a differentiated stem of aliier (from Latin alligare "bind to;" see alloy). Meaning "to form an alliance, join, associate" is late 14c. Related: allied; allying.


late 14c., "relative, kinsman," from ally (v.); mid-15c. in the sense of "one united with another by treaty or league."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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