[ uh-ley ]
See synonyms for: allayallayedallaying on

verb (used with object),al·layed, al·lay·ing.
  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

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

synonym study For allay

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.

Other words for allay

Opposites for allay

Other words from allay

  • al·lay·er, noun
  • un·al·layed, adjective

Words that may be confused with allay

Words Nearby allay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use allay in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for allay


/ (əˈleɪ) /

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

  2. (tr) to reduce (fear, anger, etc)

Origin of allay

Old English ālecgan to put down, from lecgan to lay 1

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