ally

verb
al·​ly | \ ə-ˈlī How to pronounce ally (audio) , ˈa-ˌlī How to pronounce ally (audio) \
allied; allying

Definition of ally

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to unite or form a connection or relation between : associate He allied himself with a wealthy family by marriage.

intransitive verb

: to form or enter into an alliance two factions allying with each other

ally

noun
al·​ly | \ ˈa-ˌlī How to pronounce ally (audio) , ə-ˈlī How to pronounce ally (audio) \
plural allies

Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a sovereign or state associated with another by treaty or league America and its allies
2 : one that is associated with another as a helper : a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle a political ally She has proven to be a valuable ally in the fight for better working conditions. often now used specifically of a person who is not a member of a marginalized or mistreated group but who expresses or gives support to that group The storyline on "Glee" captures something larger that we are seeing with a new generation of allies (allies are people who support LGBT rights but aren't LGBT themselves).— David M. Hall
3 : a plant or animal linked to another by genetic or taxonomic proximity ferns and their allies

Definition of -ally (Entry 3 of 3)

: -ly entry 2 terrifically in adverbs formed from adjectives in -ic with no alternative form in -ical

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Examples of ally in a Sentence

Verb

There may be occasions when America can ally with some of those states, as we did during the Gulf War. — Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 15 Oct. 2001 Teresa's right to teach, however, would not be vindicated until our time when the late Paul VI named her a doctor of the church. In her own lifetime Teresa had the good sense to ally herself with outstanding supporters such as the observant Franciscan Peter Alcantara and the famous Dominican theologian, Domenico Báñez. — Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal, 28 Jan. 2000 The singers ally themselves with a gifted songwriter, and everyone gets some major-label exposure for what just happens to be a splendid album. — Michael Azerrad, Rolling Stone, 13-27 July 1995 Generally, however, psychoanalysts do ally themselves with two positions, the first of which is that dreams are meaningful. — Wynn Schwartz, Dreamtime and Dreamwork, 1990 She's allied herself with the moderates on this issue. countries allying themselves with the EU He'll even admit that he's hoping to ally himself to a wealthy family by marriage. They've allied with their former enemies.

Noun

When the Soviets pulled out in early 1989, the ensuing power vacuum turned former allies into enemies. The Muslim fighters known as mujahideen, who were unified in their struggle against the Soviets, disbanded and fought one another for control of Kabul in a devastating civil war. — Jiffer Bourguignon, Saveur, March 2008 Our allies would need us more than we would need them, so we could count on them to rally to our side in a crunch. — Samantha Power, New York Times Book Review, 29 July 2007 These groups have learned from experience that the media are their most valuable ally. Publicity increases tips that fuel an investigation, and many communities have launched special-alert systems in the past few years to get news of an abduction on the air within minutes. — Andrew Murr, Newsweek, 29 July 2002 fought with the Allies in World War II She's counting on her allies in the state legislature.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mahathir, in his prime, had full control over the nation's media -- which was almost entirely owned by the government or political parties allied to Mahathir. Marc Lourdes, CNN, "Malaysia's Najib Razak is in a fight for his political life," 6 May 2018 Trump allied himself with the cops over the protesters, warned of the murderous gangs sweeping through urban America, and called for a total ban on Muslim travel to and from the country. Ezra Klein, Vox, "How identity politics elected Donald Trump," 5 Nov. 2018 Peter II ascended the throne at age 17 in a coup d'etat against his uncle and regent, who wished to ally Yugoslavia with Germany during WWII. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Queen Victoria's Descendants Still Reign Over Europe," 17 Feb. 2019 On the other side, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan, expects to spend roughly $100 million. Steve Peoples, Fox News, "Overconfident? Dem optimism surges as midterms approach," 22 Sep. 2018 And Bolton's determination to ally with the President closely could be challenged in some areas — on the potential of a North Korea summit or with Trump's determination to improve ties with Russia. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Syria attack response looms over Bolton's first week as national security adviser," 8 Apr. 2018 Frangieh is a close friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad and is allied with the militant Hezbollah group while Geagea is with the Western and Saudi-backed coalition and is a harsh critic of both Assad and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Bassem Mroue, The Seattle Times, "Lebanese civil war rivals end decades of hostility," 14 Nov. 2018 The three centers that had allied so well to design the Apollo spacecraft (Houston), build the Saturn V vehicle (Huntsville), and launch them (Cape Canaveral), began to fray. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 6: After Apollo, NASA still searching for an encore," 13 Feb. 2018 First is 10GB of RAM, which is allied to 256GB of storage on the device. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "McLaren and OnePlus kick off exclusive partnership with McLaren OnePlus 6T," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies. Amy Marturana, SELF, "10-Minute Total-Body Kettlebell Workout," 19 Apr. 2019 Moore is a conservative commentator and another Trump political ally. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "McConnell won’t say if Senate would back Herman Cain for Fed," 12 Apr. 2019 Ankara seems perfectly willing to go ahead with the purchase at the expense of the privilege of buying the only fifth generation fighter available on the market, and at the expense of its its reputation as a reliable ally to other NATO countries. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Is Pausing Deliveries of F-35 Equipment to Turkey," 3 Apr. 2019 Last night, Beyoncé and Jay-Z accepted the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in honor of their work as allies with the LGBTQ community. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Gave an Emotional Speech Honoring Her Uncle Who Suffered from HIV at the GLAAD Awards," 29 Mar. 2019 And also create an opportunity for our allies to step up and show some support and come together for an important cause. Shammara Lawrence, Allure, "What MuslimGirl's Amani Al-Khatahtbeh Wants to See From the Beauty Industry in 2019," 27 Mar. 2019 This is the difference between an ally and an accomplice. Brittany Packnett, Teen Vogue, "We Can’t Just Show Up For Social Justice Issues When It Impacts Our Own Lives," 21 Mar. 2019 Congressional Republicans have upheld Hyde for more than 40 years with an assist from an unlikely ally: the Democratic Party. Christine Grimaldi, Vogue, "Senators Introduce Legislation to Finally Repeal the Hyde Amendment and End Wide-Ranging Federal Abortion-Funding Ban," 12 Mar. 2019 Most of them were scrapped, sunk, and turned into fish habitat and transferred abroad to U.S. allies. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Won’t Bring Back Mothballed Ships to Boost the Fleet," 21 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ally.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ally

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ally

Verb and Noun

Middle English allien, from Anglo-French alier, from Latin alligare to bind to, from ad- + ligare to bind — more at ligature

Adverb suffix

-al entry 1 + -ly

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Statistics for ally

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ally

The first known use of ally was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ally

ally

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ally

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to join (yourself) with another person, group, etc., in order to get or give support

ally

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 2)

: a country that supports and helps another country in a war
: the nations that fought together against Germany in World War I or World War II
: a person or group that gives help to another person or group

ally

noun
al·​ly | \ ˈa-ˌlī How to pronounce ally (audio) , ə-ˈlī\
plural allies

Kids Definition of ally

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person, group, or nation associated or united with another in a common purpose

ally

verb
al·​ly | \ ə-ˈlī How to pronounce ally (audio) , ˈa-ˌlī\
allied; allying

Kids Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a connection between : join in an alliance He allied himself with supporters of the new law.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ally

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ally

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ally

Spanish Central: Translation of ally

Nglish: Translation of ally for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ally for Arabic Speakers

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