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

Forceful Saudi foreign policy under Salman has also included isolating rival Qatar, allying closely with Egypt’s military ruler Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and increasing its already huge advanced weapons purchases. David Mednicoff, The Conversation, "Why increasing Arab-Israeli closeness matters," 29 Aug. 2019 All that is what still makes Katharine Hamnett relevant today—the fact that her designs stand the test of time, allied to the upgrade of the new, clean, processes which are embedded in their manufacture. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 Further Reading Three hours after allying with 8chan, THQ Nordic goes into full apology mode Prince acknowledged that 8chan will be able to find another service provider to take over from Cloudflare. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Cloudflare has had enough, cutting off 8chan," 5 Aug. 2019 Planned Parenthood clinics have long been a target for religious and social conservatives closely allied with the administration because the clinics separately provide abortions. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, chicagotribune.com, "Planned Parenthood says it will defy Trump abortion rule, abruptly announces departure of Leana Wen as president," 16 July 2019 His forces control much of Libya's east and south but suffered a significant blow last week when militias allied with the Tripoli government reclaimed Gharyan, a town about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital and a key LNA supply route. Author: Rami Musa, Samy Magdy, Anchorage Daily News, "Airstrike kills 44 migrants in Libyan detention center," 3 July 2019 An American production boom has turned the U.S. into a more potent competitor, forcing OPEC to ally with Russia for the first time. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "The Man Who Wants America to Fall in Love With OPEC," 28 June 2019 Chinese exclusion, for instance, was finally eased when China became allied with the United States in the Pacific war. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, "America’s Exclusionary Past and Present and the Judgment of History," 17 Aug. 2019 Politicians of the center-left and center-right may see each other as historical opponents, but they should be allied in fighting extremists on either side. Klaus Meyer, Quartz, "How to prevent a fascist takeover: Lessons from the Nazi party’s rise to power," 17 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of Mr Márquez’s allies, known as El Paisa, arranged the bombing of a social club in Bogotá in 2003 that killed 36 people. The Economist, "Will Colombia return to war?," 5 Sep. 2019 Warren has not backed down from her criticism, which Biden’s allies call unfair and simplistic. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, "Four years ago, Joe Biden viewed Elizabeth Warren as a possible running mate; now they’re sparring," 5 Sep. 2019 Mattis had disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and also questioned the president’s treatment of allies. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Mattis: Trump ‘an unusual president,’ but ‘we’ve got to be careful’," 30 Aug. 2019 Icahn named former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister and three of Icahn's close business allies as his four selections in his bid to replace nearly half of the Oxy board. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Icahn attacks Oxy over potential board additions," 29 Aug. 2019 Fisher has been aggressively pushed by Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who briefly held up the confirmation of a Trump budget office nominee last month in an attempt to put pressure on the Army Corps. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump offers to pardon aides worried about wrongdoing in push for border wall, officials say," 28 Aug. 2019 In recent months, Trump’s allies have taken over state parties that control primary elections in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere. Tom Davies, Twin Cities, "Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh making longshot GOP challenge to Trump," 25 Aug. 2019 In recent months, Trump’s allies have taken over state parties that control primary elections in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere. Tom Davies, The Denver Post, "Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh making longshot GOP challenge to Trump," 25 Aug. 2019 Over the past three years, Trump’s G-7 allies have become frenemies and mere acquaintances have turned into adversaries. NBC News, "The Trump-Boris Johnson relationship is set to get a key test at G-7 meeting," 23 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

11 Sep 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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