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

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 And Bolton's determination to ally with the President closely could be challenged in some areas — on the potential of a North Korea summit or with Trump's determination to improve ties with Russia. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Syria attack response looms over Bolton's first week as national security adviser," 8 Apr. 2018 Frangieh is a close friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad and is allied with the militant Hezbollah group while Geagea is with the Western and Saudi-backed coalition and is a harsh critic of both Assad and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Bassem Mroue, The Seattle Times, "Lebanese civil war rivals end decades of hostility," 14 Nov. 2018 The three centers that had allied so well to design the Apollo spacecraft (Houston), build the Saturn V vehicle (Huntsville), and launch them (Cape Canaveral), began to fray. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 6: After Apollo, NASA still searching for an encore," 13 Feb. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Maduro has held on to the support of the military, the country’s main powerbroker, and relies on powerful allies like Russia and China in a conflict with increasingly Cold War-like dimensions. Luis Andres Henao, The Seattle Times, "A look at rival Branson vs Maduro concerts for Venezuela," 20 Feb. 2019 If that happened, then the US and its European NATO allies would be treaty-bound to defend those countries and go to war with Russia. Alex Ward, Vox, "Russia just openly attacked Ukraine. That could mean their war will get worse.," 26 Nov. 2018 In Georgia on Sunday, November 4, Trump urged voters to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, and vote for Trump ally Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for state governor. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "Barack Obama and Donald Trump Brought Their Respective Brands of Hope and Fear to the 2018 Midterm Campaign Trail," 5 Nov. 2018 WEDNESDAY Trump lambasted European allies in combative remarks on camera at the breakfast with Stoltenberg. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Believe it or not, President Trump has been in Europe a little over 72 hours," 13 July 2018 Although few derided past presidents’ ultimately naive dreams of working with Putin, Trump’s professed identical goal is sending visible willies through Democrats and European allies alike. Andrew Malcolm, SFChronicle.com, "Will Trump stand up to Putin or fall for him?," 12 July 2018 Model Amanda Wheeler is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies. Amy Marturana, SELF, "How to Do a Turkish Get-up," 8 Feb. 2019 When Socialists were elected in Macedonia in 2016, Western allies pushed the countries to seize the opportunity and end the decadeslong dispute. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Greece Ratifies Historic Accord With Macedonia Amid Protests," 25 Jan. 2019 Administration officials, as well as the president’s allies, have meanwhile tried to spin the sting of deaths as fairly a rare occurrence. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump is using the deaths of two migrant children to push for his border wall," 29 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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Learn More about ally

Dictionary Entries near ally

allwhither

all-world

-ally

ally

all-year

all year round

allyl

Statistics for ally

Last Updated

13 Mar 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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