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

Haftar vowed to take the city in 48 hours, but roughly four months later, the offensive remains bogged down by a vigorous defense by factions allied with the Government of National Accord. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Libya civil war and natural resources attract mix of nations," 2 Aug. 2019 Gorsuch’s libertarian approach allies him with fellow conservatives on most issues, but with liberals on some weighty criminal cases. David Lauter, latimes.com, "As Trump retreats on census, outlines of next battle come into focus," 12 July 2019 In taking on these cases, Horne has allied himself with the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a community activist with a flair for the dramatic and a magnet for controversy. Richard Ruelas And, azcentral, "Why has former Attorney General Tom Horne aligned himself with the Rev. Jarrett Maupin?," 21 June 2019 In an audio recording released in 2015 that is believed to be authentic, el-Ashmawi allied himself with the Islamic State group’s rival, al-Qaida, led by Egyptian militant Ayman al-Zawahri. Hamza Hendawi, The Seattle Times, "Egyptian investigators in Libya to question wanted militant," 9 Oct. 2018 In Nangarhar, the group continues to hold several districts, while fighters allied with Islamic State have increased their presence over the past years and fight the Taliban. Stefanie Glinski, Los Angeles Times, "Fifteen years of regret: The ex-Taliban commander who now lives in hiding," 21 July 2019 In this scenario, Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung would supply a pricier network comprised of kit made outside China to serve customers allied with the United States. The Economist, "SecurityCompanies must get ready for a riskier world," 11 July 2019 There also were suspicions of involvement by foreign countries allied with his forces. Author: Rami Musa, Samy Magdy, Anchorage Daily News, "Airstrike kills 44 migrants in Libyan detention center," 3 July 2019 President Harry Truman and his advisers accurately perceived that a strong America allied with other strong economies would produce greater prosperity over the long run than a dominant America would enjoy in a world of economic pipsqueaks. David Von Drehle, Twin Cities, "David Von Drehle: Everyone acts like America is in decline. Let’s look at the numbers.," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The death of the young soldier came just over a month before Israel’s parliamentary elections, with Netanyahu’s right-wing allies calling for further West Bank settlement construction and a tough response. Fox News, "'Terrorists' linked to murder of young Israeli soldier in West Bank arrested, IDF announces," 12 Aug. 2019 Scaramucci has since told CNN that he's received a wave of support from current Trump allies, lawmakers and individuals inside the White House after standing up to the president in his public feud over social media. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Ex-White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says Trump will "turn" on Americans," 12 Aug. 2019 More Stories There’s an admirable ruthlessness to the triumvirate’s operation, which also enlists the services of local assassin/traumatized veteran Gabriel (Domhnall Gleeson) and allies with the Mafia in Brooklyn. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Kitchen Can’t Figure Out What Kind of Gangster Film It Is," 9 Aug. 2019 Most participants are traditional client states or regional allies of the Soviet Union and now Russia, and many have non-democratic or even dictatorial regimes. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Tank Get Some Serious Air During Russia's Army Olympics," 8 Aug. 2019 Seeing how humans inevitably eliminate mutants down the line, Moira tries going evil and allies herself with Magneto before going even further down the scale by joining forces with the archvillain known as Apocalypse. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Marvel just changed everything we thought we knew about the X-Men in one fantastic comic," 8 Aug. 2019 So allies are just as important as anyone who’s in the community. Nolan Feeney, Billboard, "5 LGBTQ Trailblazers on Why 'The World Is Changing': Billboard's First Pride Roundtable," 8 Aug. 2019 This week, House of X #2 shook things up even more by showing how Moira MacTaggert, a mutant-friendly scientist and long-time ally of the X-Men, is actually a mutant herself, born with the power of reincarnation. Christian Holub, EW.com, "House of X writer Jonathan Hickman explains the thinking behind those data pages," 7 Aug. 2019 This may be due in part to incessant factional battles in the ANC and an unprecedented assault on Ramaphosa and close allies like Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan that is being conducted through the Office of the Public Protector. Seán Mfundza Muller, Quartz Africa, "South Africa’s economy is in a perilous state and is running out of time to get fixed," 7 Aug. 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

14 Aug 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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