al·​lay a-ˈlā How to pronounce allay (audio)
allayed; allaying; allays

transitive verb

: to subdue or reduce in intensity or severity : alleviate
expect a breeze to allay the heat
: to make quiet : calm
trying to allay their fears

intransitive verb

obsolete : to diminish in strength : subside
Choose the Right Synonym for allay

relieve, alleviate, lighten, assuage, mitigate, allay mean to make something less grievous.

relieve implies a lifting of enough of a burden to make it tolerable.

took an aspirin to relieve the pain

alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress.

the lotion alleviated the itching

lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight.

good news would lighten our worries

assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable.

ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat

mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful.

the need to mitigate barbaric laws

allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms.

allayed their fears

Example Sentences

The new advertising campaign is an attempt to allay the public's concerns about the safety of the company's products. a gentle breeze would allay the heat
Recent Examples on the Web The Biden administration sought to allay some of those fears by passing two policies to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry in 2022. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 17 Dec. 2022 On Wednesday, the ACLU of Texas sought to allay the fears of caregivers with transgender kids seeking gender-affirming care. Dallas News, 23 Feb. 2022 The findings may help allay concerns that making buprenorphine more widely available could lead to more overdose deaths. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 20 Jan. 2023 To allay these fears (which Ma also originally shared), Sorgie and the crew made an effort to immerse themselves in the community, embarking on a goodwill tour of sorts. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Jan. 2023 But significant hurdles remain before these feats can be attempted in human studies, including how to allay fears that efforts to change the age of cells carry the risk of causing uncontrolled growth and cancer. Robert Weisman,, 12 Jan. 2023 To allay their fears the homeless would be allowed to bring their belongings into the gym, including the shopping carts some use for storage, McCollum said. San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Jan. 2023 The Paris police chief met Saturday with members of the Kurdish community to try to allay their fears ahead of Saturday's rally. Arkansas Online, 25 Dec. 2022 To allay concerns, the Corps analyzed nine past sweeps of the area that includes Lalamilo. Rob Perez, ProPublica, 26 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allay.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English alayen, from Old English ālecgan, from ā- (perfective prefix) + lecgan to lay — more at abide, lay

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of allay was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near allay

Cite this Entry

“Allay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


al·​lay a-ˈlā How to pronounce allay (audio)
allayed; allaying
: to make less severe : relieve
allay pain
: to make quiet : calm
allay fears

More from Merriam-Webster on allay

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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