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

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association altered its postseason procedures, and the state begins a new alignment cycle as well. Pat Stoetzer,, "Fall Sports Previews: 3 things to watch for field hockey in 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Two balls that would almost certainly have been turned into outs under a traditional defensive alignment combined to give the Diamondbacks an early deficit. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks' Mike Leake beats Giants after defense cuts down on shifts," 27 Aug. 2019 Addison usually starts at defensive end, but Carolina opened the game in a 3-4 defensive alignment instead of a 4-3. · James Bradberry (Pleasant Grove, Samford) started at cornerback for the Panthers. Mark Inabinett |, al, "State NFL Roundup: Khari Blasingame, Ito Smith back in end zone," 26 Aug. 2019 Three-and-out: A few years ago, the Wildcats switched from a 4-3 defensive alignment to a 3-4. Jon J. Kerr,, "Pioneer Press 2019 football preview: Libertyville Wildcats," 23 Aug. 2019 In the Big Red Ball, the constant collisions disrupt that alignment. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Sun’s solar wind recreated in lab with aid of Big Red Ball," 23 Aug. 2019 The relatively small outfield at Great American Park also provides a good setting in which to have Tuesday’s alignment of Mejia in left, Manuel Margot in center and Josh Naylor in right. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Mejia not left out; Stammen’s slider returns for a night," 20 Aug. 2019 That’s the calculus Indiana faces every fall, stuck on the wrong side of a lopsided divisional alignment. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Talent infusion, improved depth has Tom Allen betting on his IU football team like he never has before," 18 July 2019 Deerfield Beach is the class of this new district alignment. Gary Curreri,, "Projecting how Palm Beach teams will fare this season -- district-by-district for Classes 8A-5A; by region for 4A-1A," 23 Aug. 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

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for alignment

The first known use of alignment was in 1742

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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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Comments on alignment

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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