[ uh-ley ]
/ əˈleɪ /

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

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

al·lay·er, nounun·al·layed, adjective

Can be confused

allay alley alloy ally

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for allay

British Dictionary definitions for allay


/ (əˈleɪ) /


to relieve (pain, grief, etc) or be relieved
(tr) to reduce (fear, anger, etc)

Word Origin for 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