al·​lay | \ a-ˈlā How to pronounce allay (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

President Moon, a liberal who ended a decade of conservative leadership with his election in May, on Friday sought to allay skepticism among older, conservative South Koreans about the North's conciliatory gestures. Matt Stiles,, "Is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now trying to portray himself as a statesman?," 5 Jan. 2018 Saudi Arabia has tried to allay U.S. concerns by developing an extensive list of hospitals, historic sites and other places that are supposed to be off-limits for airstrikes in most cases. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "U.S. Backing for Saudi War in Yemen Draws Congressional Concern," 23 May 2018 To try to allay Justice Department concerns, AT&T has offered to submit any pricing disputes over Time Warner content to a third-party arbitrator. Jim Puzzanghera,, "AT&T's Randall Stephenson tries to close the deal on Time Warner merger at antitrust trial," 19 Apr. 2018 As tech behemoths like Facebook and Google try to allay concerns over privacy, Shiru’s information-gathering on students has not drawn much scrutiny. Graham Ambrose,, "Free coffee — with a catch — is coming to Massachusetts," 14 July 2018 Seeking to allay concerns, diplomats from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates outlined a roster of humanitarian activities and plans Thursday at a New York news conference. Jennifer Peltz, Fox News, "UN Yemen envoy: 'Confident' pact can be reached on port city," 21 June 2018 Engadget notes that Jarvish is already selling the first generation of X helmets in Taiwan, so that may help allay some of your concerns about the tech when these helmets go on sale next year. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Jarvish’s smart motorcycle helmets will offer Alexa and Siri support and an AR display," 5 Oct. 2018 This can help allay some of their fears and concerns about being judged, Klein adds. Brittany Risher, SELF, "12 Things to Do When You Know Someone You Love Isn't 'Fine'," 18 Aug. 2018 The choice of a French politician for the role may also help allay historic concerns over Germany preaching to Poland. Marek Strzelecki,, "EU Says Poland Must Do More to Quell Concern Over Court Revamps," 25 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allay

Statistics for allay

Last Updated

1 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allay

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for allay



English Language Learners Definition of allay

formal : to make (something) less severe or strong


al·​lay | \ ə-ˈlā How to pronounce allay (audio) \
allayed; allaying

Kids Definition of allay

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!