the act of allying or state of being allied.
a formal agreement or treaty between two or more nations to cooperate for specific purposes.
a merging of efforts or interests by persons, families, states, or organizations: an alliance between church and state.
the persons or entities so allied.
marriage or the relationship created by marriage between the families of the spouses.
correspondence in basic characteristics; affinity: the alliance between logic and metaphysics.

Origin of alliance

1250–1300; Middle English aliance < Old French, equivalent to ali(er) to ally + -ance -ance
Related formsin·ter·al·li·ance, noun, adjectivenon·al·li·ance, nounpre·al·li·ance, nounpro·al·li·ance, adjectivere·al·li·ance, nounsub·al·li·ance, noun

Synonyms for alliance

Synonym study

1. Alliance, confederation, league, union all mean the joining of states for mutual benefit or to permit the joint exercise of functions. An alliance may apply to any connection entered into for mutual benefit. League usually suggests closer combination or a more definite object or purpose. Confederation applies to a permanent combination for the exercise in common of certain governmental functions. Union implies an alliance so close and permanent that the separate states or parties become essentially one.


[uh-lahy-uh ns]


a city in NE Ohio. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for alliance

Contemporary Examples of alliance

Historical Examples of alliance

  • And my orders were much like yours--to get the alliance of this M'tela.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • We must take them into our alliance, or they will destroy all our theories of self-government.

  • I know such people will do anything for the honour of such an alliance.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The alliance with the Masai was of too much importance to us for us to wish it dissolved.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • The Scots are proud of their nobility, alliance to the crown, and logical subtleties.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

British Dictionary definitions for alliance



the act of allying or state of being allied; union; confederation
a formal agreement or pact, esp a military one, between two or more countries to achieve a particular aim
the countries involved in such an agreement
a union between families through marriage
affinity or correspondence in qualities or characteristics
botany a taxonomic category consisting of a group of related families; subclass

Word Origin for alliance

C13: from Old French aliance, from alier to ally


noun (in Britain)

  1. the Alliancethe Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party acting or regarded as a political entity from 1981 to 1988
  2. (as modifier)an Alliance candidate
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

Word Origin and History for alliance

c.1300, "bond of marriage" (between ruling houses or noble families), from Old French aliance (12c., Modern French alliance) "alliance, bond; marriage, union," from aliier (Modern French allier) "combine, unite" (see ally (v.)). As a bond or treaty between rulers, late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper