ally

verb
al·​ly | \ ə-ˈlī How to pronounce ally (audio) , ˈa-ˌlī How to pronounce ally (audio) \
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 How to pronounce ally (audio) , ə-ˈlī How to pronounce ally (audio) \
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

After all, Greece gave the world Themistocles, the fifth-century B.C. wheeler-dealer politician and general who increased ancient Athenian power by being interested in everyone — and permanently allied to no one. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Greece finds new footing as a player on the world stage," 6 June 2019 As the 75th anniversary of the legendary World War II allied invasion at Normandy approaches, few American veterans of the landings are left to tell the story. oregonlive.com, "D-Day survivor: ‘Why were they killed and I wasn’t? Why?'," 5 June 2019 As the 75th anniversary of the legendary World War II allied invasion at Normandy approaches, few American veterans of the landings are left to tell the story. The Washington Post, al.com, "D-Day veteran wonders why he lived when so many others died," 3 June 2019 As a computer scientist, Spielman knew little of quantum mechanics or the Kadison-Singer problem’s allied mathematical field, called C*-algebras. Quanta Magazine, "‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem," 24 Nov. 2015 Mahathir, in his prime, had full control over the nation's media -- which was almost entirely owned by the government or political parties allied to Mahathir. Marc Lourdes, CNN, "Malaysia's Najib Razak is in a fight for his political life," 6 May 2018 Trump allied himself with the cops over the protesters, warned of the murderous gangs sweeping through urban America, and called for a total ban on Muslim travel to and from the country. Ezra Klein, Vox, "How identity politics elected Donald Trump," 5 Nov. 2018 Peter II ascended the throne at age 17 in a coup d'etat against his uncle and regent, who wished to ally Yugoslavia with Germany during WWII. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Queen Victoria's Descendants Still Reign Over Europe," 17 Feb. 2019 On the other side, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan, expects to spend roughly $100 million. Steve Peoples, Fox News, "Overconfident? Dem optimism surges as midterms approach," 22 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Following the overthrow of the Shan and the Iranian hostage crisis, Washington quickly went from ally to enemy. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Iran’s Aging American-Made Jets Could Fly Through the 2040s," 11 Feb. 2019 The worst fears of King's Landing, all her allies, and basically everyone except Drogon and Grey Worm were all confirmed: Dany heard the bells signaling that her siege on King's Landing was successful and that the city was surrendering. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why Did Daenerys Burn King's Landing in 'Game of Thrones'?," 13 May 2019 To the east, the Soviet Union is a much weaker force and still Germany’s ally. Bartle Bull, WSJ, "‘Blood, Oil and the Axis’ Review: The Front That Was Left Behind," 9 May 2019 These television power pairs are each other's closest confidantes, allies, and cheerleaders. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "The Secret to Having the Best Relationship With Your Work Wife," 7 Mar. 2019 But thanks to the work of LGTBQ people and allies, the world is finally understanding that this is not the case. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "What Does 'Agender' Mean?," 3 May 2019 Edward managed to persuade his powerful ally to head back to Britain when the ship set sail from New York 12 days later. Anna Pasternak, Town & Country, "How Wallis Simpson Reacted When King Edward VIII Revealed His Plans to Abdicate," 5 Mar. 2019 Kainaz Amaria/Vox The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, millions of women and their allies around the world marched to express opposition to his ideology and support for women’s rights. Anna North, Vox, "The Women’s March changed the American left. Now anti-Semitism allegations threaten the group’s future.," 21 Dec. 2018 Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies. Amy Marturana, SELF, "10-Minute Total-Body Kettlebell Workout," 19 Apr. 2019

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

19 Jun 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 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 How to pronounce ally (audio) , 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 How to pronounce ally (audio) , 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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