align·​ment | \ ə-ˈlīn-mənt How to pronounce alignment (audio) \
variants: or less commonly alinement

Definition of alignment

1 : the act of aligning or state of being aligned especially : the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts (as of a mechanical or electronic device) in relation to each other
2a : a forming in line
b : the line thus formed
3 : the ground plan (as of a railroad or highway) in distinction from the profile
4 : an arrangement of groups or forces in relation to one another new alignments within the political party

Examples of alignment in a Sentence

The school has to bring its programs into alignment with state requirements. New alignments have been created within the political party.

Recent Examples on the Web

At certain points in the flow field the cells’ alignment broke down — one group of cells might be perpendicular to a neighboring group, for example. Quanta Magazine, "Swirling Bacteria Linked to the Physics of Phase Transitions," 16 June 2019 That ruins defensive alignments and leads to big innings, like the Friday’s eighth. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Disastrous games are part of Detroit Tigers' growing pains," 15 June 2019 Woods’s alignment doesn’t have any of West’s folly, turmoil or historical blasphemy. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "A Tolerable Redemption for Tiger Woods," 13 June 2019 Someone came to the hotel and managed to fix the alignment. Christopher Muther,, "Our travel writer had so much bad luck on a recent trip, he cried on a sidewalk," 12 June 2019 But most of it was just alignment and knowing what angles to take, because football’s all about angles. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders DE Arden Key aims to finish ‘almost-sacks’ in 2019," 12 June 2019 With the exception of the College Football Playoff and New Year's six at-large bowls, the NCAA permits the SEC to have 11 bowl tie-in alignments but the conference is opting for 10 instead. Dana Scott, azcentral, "NCAA to realign conference matchups of college football bowl games," 3 June 2019 To compensate, the bottom jaw shifts forward so that the top and bottom rows of teeth are in an edge-on-edge alignment. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "A change in our diets may have changed the way we speak," 14 Mar. 2019 The new method uses neutrons, neutrally charged subatomic particles that spin in the opposite direction of a magnetic field’s alignment. Anna Groves, Discover Magazine, "A New Way to See Magnetic Fields," 11 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alignment.' 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 alignment

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for alignment

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for alignment

The first known use of alignment was in 1742

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More Definitions for alignment



English Language Learners Definition of alignment

: the state of being arranged in a line or in proper position
: the state or condition of agreeing with or matching something else
: the state of being joined with others in supporting or opposing something


align·​ment | \ ə-ˈlīn-mənt How to pronounce alignment (audio) \

Kids Definition of alignment

: the state of being arranged in a line or in proper position The machine was not working properly because its parts were out of alignment.

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