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

First is 10GB of RAM, which is allied to 256GB of storage on the device. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "McLaren and OnePlus kick off exclusive partnership with McLaren OnePlus 6T," 11 Dec. 2018 As for Slovakia, the nation spent much of the 20th century as part of Czechoslovakia, a Warsaw Pact state allied with the USSR. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Slovakia Becomes the Newest—and Smallest—Country to Fly the F-16," 4 Dec. 2018 In neighboring Nangarhar province, American Special Operation troops and Afghan commandos have battled pockets of fighters allied with the Islamic State since 2015. Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, "American Soldier Is Killed in Afghanistan, the 2nd This Week," 12 July 2018 The Jasenovac death camp in Croatia was run by the Ustasha, the fascist regime allied with Nazi Germany during World War II. Darko Janjevic, USA TODAY, "Australian firm Valley Eyewear apologizes for shooting ad at World War II death camp," 4 July 2018 Tuck is back, facing a new opponent allied with the teachers, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "Rent control, data privacy and gas taxes for roads: Get ready for the next election," 7 June 2018 Others want to remain within the law, and may seek to form a government by allying with the non-nationalist left. The Economist, "Catalonia’s separatist leader is arrested in Germany," 28 Mar. 2018 The candidate most closely allied with Mr Najib won the contest to replace him as head of Malaysia’s oldest and grandest political party, the United Malays National Organisation. The Economist, "Malaysia’s former prime minister is charged with breach of trust," 5 July 2018 The Mandalorians feature prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and are also known to ally themselves with Darth Maul's Shadow Collective, which fans saw a small glimpse of in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Star Wars "The Mandalorian"," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Photo: Joshua Paul for The Wall Street Journal Malaysia, rich in natural resources and on a sea lane, is a prized ally in the U.S.-China contest for influence in Asia. Bradley Hope, WSJ, "WSJ Investigation: China Offered to Bail Out Troubled Malaysian Fund in Return for Deals," 7 Jan. 2019 For the most part, Trump has been a very close ally of the NRA. German Lopez, Vox, "Vox Sentences: “You sold your country out”," 19 Dec. 2018 Serbia rejects its secession, and Russia, a close ally and veto-wielding Security Council member, has blocked Kosovo from becoming a member of the United Nations. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "Serbia and Kosovo trade accusations over Kosovo’s new army," 17 Dec. 2018 The figures would almost certainly make Adelson, a close ally of President Donald Trump, the biggest GOP donor of the 2018 election cycle. Fox News, "Video from 2011 creates headaches for Sinema," 12 Oct. 2018 Governor William Bradford organized the feast, inviting the Plymouth colonists' Native American allies. Taylor Murphy, Good Housekeeping, "19 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Thanksgiving," 14 Aug. 2018 This summer will only bring more frustration for the group’s enemies and more celebration from its allies. Abraham Riesman, Daily Intelligencer, "Can the young activists of IfNotNow change the conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, or will their contradictions hold them back?," 12 July 2018 Mazzie and Goldhaber found an ally in producer Isabelle Link-Levy, who got involved after reading an early draft. Carl Kelsch, Marie Claire, "'Cam' Is the Sex-Positive Horror Movie You Have to See," 24 Dec. 2018 My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues . . . . Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “The Most Chaotic Presidency Ever”," 23 Dec. 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 and Noun

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

Adverb suffix

-al entry 1 + -ly

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Statistics for ally

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ally

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ally

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ally

Spanish Central: Translation of ally

Nglish: Translation of ally for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ally for Arabic Speakers

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