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plural alae ˈā-ˌlē How to pronounce ala (audio)
: a wing or a winglike anatomic part or process (see process entry 1 sense 4)
alar adjective
alary adjective


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abbreviation (1)



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abbreviation (2)

American Library Association

à la

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ˌä-(ˌ)lä How to pronounce à la (audio)
variants or less commonly a la
: in the manner of
walking with a swagger à la John Wayne

Examples of ala in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
But the fans just really went for it, maybe due to the new a la carte state of the music industry. Charlie Amter, Variety, 1 Dec. 2023 Airport style is all about finding a look that strikes the balance between being comfortable, yet put-together (think cozy knits, a la Gigi Hadid). Christian Allaire, Vogue, 19 Nov. 2023 For hotel guests, this is also where breakfast is served, with both healthy and indulgent plates offered a la carte alongside excellent coffee. Lauren Jade Hill, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Some honorable mentions were the jamón serrano with marcona almonds, the beet conserva with goat cheese tahini, and the pulpo a la plancha. Bon Appétit Contributor, Bon Appétit, 2 Nov. 2023 Desserts and cocktails, wine and beer are a la carte. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Nov. 2023 Diners can choose from a tasting menu or a la carte—but the former is the real treat. Laura Lai Coughlin, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Nov. 2023 The greatest way to try it all is with the Vuelve a la Vida (or Back to Life) platter, its name a wink to the Mexican custom of eating seafood to cure a hangover. Jorge Valencia Mariano Fernandez, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Vipers will dual-wield swords that can be fused together into one big sword for more damage a la Zidane from Final Fantasy IX. Ash Parrish, The Verge, 23 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ala.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Latin āla "armpit, upper arm, wing, axil" going back to *akslā, going back to Indo-European *h2eḱs-(i)l-eh2- (whence also Germanic *ahslō-, whence Old English eaxl "shoulder," Old Frisian axle, axele "shoulder, armpit," Old Saxon ahsla, Old High German ahsla, ahsala, Old Icelandic ǫxl "shoulder"), derivative with an -l- suffix from *h2eḱs- "pivot around which something rotates, axle" — more at axis


French à la

First Known Use


1634, in the meaning defined above


circa 1642, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ala was in 1634

Dictionary Entries Near ala

Cite this Entry

“Ala.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 3 noun
plural alae -ˌlē How to pronounce ala (audio)
: a wing or a winglike anatomic process or part
especially : ala nasi


2 of 3 abbreviation
alanine; alanyl


3 of 3 abbreviation

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