• synonyms


  1. plural of ala.
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noun, plural a·lae [ey-lee] /ˈeɪ li/.
  1. a wing.
  2. a winglike part, process, or expansion, as of a bone, shell, seed, or stem.
  3. either of the two side petals of a flower in the legume family, as the pea.
  4. (in an ancient Roman house) a small room, as an alcove, opening into a larger room or courtyard.
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Origin of ala

1730–40; < Latin āla wing, armpit, shoulder, representing *aks-lā, derivative of same base as axis axle (see axis1); see axle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alae

Historical Examples

  • When it is from fifty to sixty feet in length, devote one fourth of the length to the alae.

    Ten Books on Architecture


  • To the right of these alae, the two comrades now directed their steps.

    The Last Days of Pompeii

    Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

  • There was no second story over the alae, the tablinum, or the rooms about the peristyle.

  • One of the alae (h) at the time of the eruption was used as a wardrobe.

  • The alae, the 'wings' of the atrium, were two deep recesses in the sides (Fig. 115).

British Dictionary definitions for alae


noun plural alae (ˈeɪliː)
  1. zoology a wing or flat winglike process or structure, such as a part of some bones and cartilages
  2. botany a winglike part, such as one of the wings of a sycamore seed or one of the flat petals of a sweet pea flower
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Word Origin

C18: from Latin āla a wing
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

alae in Medicine


n. pl. a•lae (ā)
  1. A winglike or expanded structure or part, such as the external ear.
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  1. alanine
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  1. Delta-aminolevulinic acid; an intermediate in the biosynthesis of hematin formed from glycine and succinyl-coenzyme A.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.