al·​lay | \ a-ˈlā, ə-\
allayed; allaying; allays

Definition of allay

transitive verb

1 : to subdue or reduce in intensity or severity : alleviate expect a breeze to allay the heat
2 : to make quiet : calm trying to allay their fears

intransitive verb

obsolete : to diminish in strength : subside

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Choose the Right Synonym for allay

relieve, alleviate, lighten, assuage, mitigate, allay mean to make something less grievous. relieve implies a lifting of enough of a burden to make it tolerable. took an aspirin to relieve the pain alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress. the lotion alleviated the itching lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight. good news would lighten our worries assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable. ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful. the need to mitigate barbaric laws allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms. allayed their fears

Examples of allay in a Sentence

The new advertising campaign is an attempt to allay the public's concerns about the safety of the company's products. a gentle breeze would allay the heat

Recent Examples on the Web

But the younger Saarinen, considered by schoolmates at Cranbrook to lack the natural confidence of his father, would allay some of that self-concern with a relentless drive. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why Eero Saarinen’s ‘50s office was a breeding ground for modernist design," 8 Nov. 2018 In the face of House pressure — pressure Ryan did nothing to allay — the Justice Department partially complied with the subpoena in late June. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Paul Ryan is helping Trump undermine the rule of law," 27 July 2018 Trump’s decision this week to impose steep tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels did little to allay such concerns. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "Trump, China and Armageddon," 27 Jan. 2018 Those fears have been allayed in recent days as Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Arab world have come out strongly in its support, lending backing to regional companies who still plan to attend. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Turns to Arab Allies to Prop Up ‘Davos in Desert’ Event," 17 Oct. 2018 Any concerns about the reliability of these drives should also be allayed by the three-year warranty promised by Samsung. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Mass production of 4TB QLC SSDs begins," 7 Aug. 2018 Broadcom, then headquartered in Singapore, had stated its intention to move its headquarters to the United States, but that was not enough to allay the administration’s concerns. New York Times, "Broadcom Reaches Nearly $19 Billion Deal to Buy CA Technologies," 11 July 2018 Ito said more talks with market workers and businesses are needed to allay worries and convince them the move was the best option. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Official: Move of Japan fish market could have been better," 16 Oct. 2018 Vrsaljko was the subject of speculation linking him with a transfer to Serie A during the January transfer window, but any fears of a possible summer departure have now been allayed with the 26-year-old pledging his loyalty to Los Rojiblancos., "Atletico Tie Down Sime Vrsaljko Until June 2022 as Full-Back Pens New Rojiblancos Deal," 6 Feb. 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for allay

Middle English alayen, from Old English ālecgan, from ā- (perfective prefix) + lecgan to lay — more at abide, lay

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Statistics for allay

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allay

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

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More Definitions for allay



English Language Learners Definition of allay

: to make (something) less severe or strong


al·​lay | \ ə-ˈlā \
allayed; allaying

Kids Definition of allay

1 : to make less severe allay pain
2 : to put to rest allay fears

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More from Merriam-Webster on allay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allay

Spanish Central: Translation of allay

Nglish: Translation of allay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on allay

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


to gather or build up little by little

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