\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

The featured ale will be the Climber Wild American Ale. Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what’s coming up for AK Beer Week 2018," 11 Jan. 2018 These stout ancestors relied on brown malt for their color and flavor, but the result would likely resemble a very dark brown ale by taste today. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "Why Stouts Are Much More Than Just a St. Patrick's Day Tradition," 16 Mar. 2017 Tannery Bend Beerworks, a nanobrewery and tasting room inside a refurbished tannery, makes tiny batches of classic ales and pilsners as well as experimental varieties. New York Times, "36 Hours in Napa Valley," 21 June 2018 Briar is a sour ale fermented with blackberries and raspberries and aged in oak barrels. Gary Dzen,, "Bottles: Maine brewers expand — and Bay State benefits," 11 June 2018 There'll be food trucks, an art and artisan marketplace, and, of course, beer, including a limited-edition chocolate brown ale. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Royal wedding watching, a Pabst street party and more things to do in Milwaukee this weekend," 17 May 2018 Lagering, the process of fermenting slowly at cool temperatures, keeps the beers dry and free of the fruity undertones of malty ales such as ambers and Belgians. William Bostwick, WSJ, "This Summer’s Must-Have Beers for the Poolside Cooler," 16 May 2018 To help raise money, in 2010 the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico began brewing the Ovila Abbey beers, a series of Belgian Trappist-style ales. Bill Van Niekerken, San Francisco Chronicle, "From Hearst to monks, rubble from historic monastery finds new life," 20 Feb. 2018 O'so handed out sample of Brawndo, a sour blond ale with a touch of Gatorade that turned the unique beer a fluorescent green. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Start making pretzel necklaces now: Beer festival season is in full pour," 9 July 2018

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near ale





alea jacta est



Statistics for ale

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ale

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

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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

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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).


to express warning or disapproval

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