\ ˈāl \

Definition of ale

1 : an alcoholic beverage brewed especially by rapid fermentation from an infusion of malt with the addition of hops
2 : an English country festival at which ale is the principal beverage

Examples of ale in a Sentence

The bar serves two very different ales.

Recent Examples on the Web

More than 100 years ago, British brewers like Horace Brown noticed that dry hopping led to more re-fermentation in casks of ale. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "How to get that great “hoppy” beer taste without the exploding bottles," 5 Oct. 2018 Even the natural ales that have visible chunks ginger floating in them are still filled with sugar (check the label; anything above zero grams is too much sugar). Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Ginger Ale Isn't Good for Upset Stomachs," 9 Oct. 2018 Most North American brewers looked to traditional European brewing cultures for inspiration: British ales or Belgian or German beers, according to Shellhammer. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "How to get that great “hoppy” beer taste without the exploding bottles," 5 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, the Sauvignon Blanc balances the ale with crisp, mineral tasting notes. Claudia Mcneilly, Vogue, "Wine-Beer Is the Perfect Hybrid Drink to Sip From Summer to Fall," 3 Aug. 2018 Dome Faux'm cream ale, 8th Wonder Brewery's signature, is at various portables on all levels and the Centerfield Market. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "A drinker's guide to the beer and booze options at Minute Maid Park," 11 Apr. 2018 Multiple rooms inside and cask-ale area outside make for a great venue. Marc Bona,, "Winter Warmer Fest packs in beer-loving crowd, many brewers," 4 Mar. 2018 That means a wider audience for Alpine's beloved ales, including Nelson. Fox News, "Best American IPA beers," 30 Oct. 2015 Drinks: Wake up with the Pick Me Up, a blend of Journeyman Snaggle Tooth coffee liqueur, rye, bitters, Dark Matter cold brew coffee and cream ($14) or go for a beermosa made with Aleman Brewing's LadiesMan wheat ale ($6). Samantha Nelson, RedEye Chicago, "Do summer right with these 15 new Chicago brunches," 1 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of ale

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ale

Middle English, from Old English ealu; akin to Old Norse ǫl ale, Lithuanian alus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ale

Dictionary Entries near ale





alea jacta est



Statistics for ale

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ale

The first known use of ale was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ale



English Language Learners Definition of ale

: an alcoholic drink that is similar to beer


\ ˈāl \

Kids Definition of ale

: an alcoholic drink made from malt and flavored with hops that is usually more bitter than beer

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ale

Spanish Central: Translation of ale

Nglish: Translation of ale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ale for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ale

Comments on ale

What made you want to look up ale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!