ally

verb
al·​ly | \ə-ˈlī, ˈa-ˌlī \
allied; allying

Definition of ally 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to unite or form a connection or relation between : associate He allied himself with a wealthy family by marriage.

intransitive verb

: to form or enter into an alliance two factions allying with each other

ally

noun
al·​ly | \ˈa-ˌlī, ə-ˈlī \
plural allies

Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a sovereign or state associated with another by treaty or league America and its allies

2 : one that is associated with another as a helper : a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle a political ally She has proven to be a valuable ally in the fight for better working conditions. often now used specifically of a person who is not a member of a marginalized or mistreated group but who expresses or gives support to that group The storyline on "Glee" captures something larger that we are seeing with a new generation of allies (allies are people who support LGBT rights but aren't LGBT themselves).— David M. Hall

3 : a plant or animal linked to another by genetic or taxonomic proximity ferns and their allies

Definition of -ally (Entry 3 of 3)

: -ly entry 2 terrifically in adverbs formed from adjectives in -ic with no alternative form in -ical

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Examples of ally in a Sentence

Verb

There may be occasions when America can ally with some of those states, as we did during the Gulf War. — Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 15 Oct. 2001 Teresa's right to teach, however, would not be vindicated until our time when the late Paul VI named her a doctor of the church. In her own lifetime Teresa had the good sense to ally herself with outstanding supporters such as the observant Franciscan Peter Alcantara and the famous Dominican theologian, Domenico Báñez. — Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal, 28 Jan. 2000 The singers ally themselves with a gifted songwriter, and everyone gets some major-label exposure for what just happens to be a splendid album. — Michael Azerrad, Rolling Stone, 13-27 July 1995 Generally, however, psychoanalysts do ally themselves with two positions, the first of which is that dreams are meaningful. — Wynn Schwartz, Dreamtime and Dreamwork, 1990 She's allied herself with the moderates on this issue. countries allying themselves with the EU He'll even admit that he's hoping to ally himself to a wealthy family by marriage. They've allied with their former enemies.

Noun

When the Soviets pulled out in early 1989, the ensuing power vacuum turned former allies into enemies. The Muslim fighters known as mujahideen, who were unified in their struggle against the Soviets, disbanded and fought one another for control of Kabul in a devastating civil war. — Jiffer Bourguignon, Saveur, March 2008 Our allies would need us more than we would need them, so we could count on them to rally to our side in a crunch. — Samantha Power, New York Times Book Review, 29 July 2007 These groups have learned from experience that the media are their most valuable ally. Publicity increases tips that fuel an investigation, and many communities have launched special-alert systems in the past few years to get news of an abduction on the air within minutes. — Andrew Murr, Newsweek, 29 July 2002 fought with the Allies in World War II She's counting on her allies in the state legislature.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Renacci, a northern Ohio businessman, has allied himself with Trump, courting his endorsement for over a year, even flying on Air Force One into Cincinnati with the president in March. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "In Ohio, Democratic U.S. Senator Sen. Sherrod Brown may ride Trump country to re-election," 2 July 2018 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping was his third in as many months and highlights that the countries remain tightly allied, albeit for different reasons, analysts said. Don Lee, latimes.com, "With latest China visit, North Korea's Kim can again play statesman and reassure Beijing he's an ally," 19 June 2018 As the party’s preference became clear, two major unions allied with the governor withdrew from the party in protest. New York Times, "Cuomo Embraces Unions, 8 Years After Vowing to Take Them On," 4 June 2018 Tommy Rumbaugh, the incumbent ward leader allied with Dougherty, is rumored to be running against Rackes. Holly Otterbein, Philly.com, "Inside the messy fight to lead Delco's Democratic Party - and a possible compromise | Clout," 1 June 2018 However, once Angela (Talulah Riley) starts blowing the nitro, things don't go as well for the poor Delos employees, or, the Confederados Dolores allied with. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'Westworld' recap: New parks and emotional wrecks," 6 May 2018 House Republicans allied with Trump have also sought a full version of the memo, the latest salvo in a tug of war with Rosenstein over records related to some of the Justice Department's most politically charged investigations. Author: Sharon Lafraniere, Anchorage Daily News, "Judge questions Mueller’s charges against Manafort," 5 May 2018 Seeking opportunities to test his monetary theories and enrich himself, Law allies himself with noblemen in the French Crown, among them Philippe II, the Duke of Orleans and nephew of the aging King Louis XIV. Richard Campanella, NOLA.com, "How New Orleans was founded in 1718: Indecision, contingency, discord and serendipity," 10 Jan. 2018 Israel has warned Iran, which is allied with the Syrian government, against building up a military presence on its doorstep. Ian Deitch, Fox News, "Israel fires missile at drone that entered from Syria," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Syria, Mr Trump, along with his allies in Israel and the Gulf, wants Russia to push Iran out of the country. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 In each summit with allies, Trump keeps hammering on reciprocity. The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump’s demand for reciprocity with allies," 12 July 2018 Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) stood with allies last night on the steps of the high court in Washington, D.C. Essence.com, "Black Women Come Out In Droves To Protest Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh," 12 July 2018 Staff shake-ups, meanwhile, have left Mattis with fewer close allies. Missy Ryan, Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "At summit, Mattis faces uphill battle," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, the current breach with our closest allies will surely erode America’s ability to lead. Brian Finlay, Fortune, "Trump Might Be Right About NATO—but for All the Wrong Reasons," 6 July 2018 British officials are consulting with allies over a possible response to Russia after officials confirmed on Wednesday a second case of poisonings on British soil with a nerve agent in Russia’s Novichok series. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018 Murphy has not officially endorsed Hayes, though several of his close allies are working on her campaign. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "From Public Housing To Running For Congress: African-American Women Find Their Voices In Jahana Hayes," 13 July 2018 City officials and their allies have said those amendments would weaken city government. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas AG warns San Antonio officials about proposed paid sick leave ordinance," 10 July 2018

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ally

Verb

Middle English allien, from Anglo-French alier, from Latin alligare to bind to, from ad- + ligare to bind — more at ligature

Noun

see ally entry 1

Adverb suffix

-al entry 1 + -ly

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Statistics for ally

Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ally

The first known use of ally was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ally

ally

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ally

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to join (yourself) with another person, group, etc., in order to get or give support

ally

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 2)

: a country that supports and helps another country in a war

the Allies : the nations that fought together against Germany in World War I or World War II

: a person or group that gives help to another person or group

ally

noun
al·​ly | \ˈa-ˌlī, ə-ˈlī\
plural allies

Kids Definition of ally

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person, group, or nation associated or united with another in a common purpose

ally

verb
al·​ly | \ə-ˈlī, ˈa-ˌlī\
allied; allying

Kids Definition of ally (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a connection between : join in an alliance He allied himself with supporters of the new law.

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