ally

1 of 3

verb

allied; allying

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

2 of 3

noun

plural allies
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

-ally

3 of 3

adverb suffix

: -ly entry 2
terrifically
in adverbs formed from adjectives in -ic with no alternative form in -ical

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In exchange, the family will provide military support to thwart the growing might of the Triarchy (which Daemon battled before in the Stepstones), who are now seeking to ally with Dorne. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 26 Sep. 2022 The group initially wanted to ally with labor and advocacy group Strippers United to form an independent union but realized that would be difficult with limited resources, Velveeta says. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Aug. 2022 At the root at the rapper’s latest controversy is his decision to ally with right-wing influencer Candace Owens in calling the Black Lives Matter movement a scam. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 17 Oct. 2022 In the years before 9/11, Pakistan was one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan, seeing in them a force on its western border that would not ally with its main enemy, India. Peter Bergen, CNN, 2 Oct. 2022 What looks like a cut-and-dried case leads her to ally with Román, born and raised in a seemingly pacific local community which hides a terrifying past of dark crimes and committed in 1999 by a sect which awaited an Apocalypse. John Hopewell, Variety, 28 Sep. 2022 Russia has recently sought to ally itself with Ethiopia — once a steadfast partner of the West. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Netanyahu’s refusal to resign despite standing trial on corruption charges had alienated many of his natural allies on the right, leading some of them to ally with their ideological opponents to remove him from office. Isabel Kershner, BostonGlobe.com, 20 June 2022 Then, in the ISIS years, the US chose to ally with the Iraqi/Syrian Kurds to extirpate ISIS. Melik Kaylan, Forbes, 6 July 2022
Noun
The two countries disagree on the status of the military wing of the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG), which has been a US ally in the fight against ISIS in Syria. Hadas Gold, CNN, 21 Nov. 2022 But now, Karla still has the flexibility to move within the people still in the game being an amicable ally. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2022 The battle for progressive voters also represents a generational clash between García, who was a Harold Washington ally in the 1980s, Johnson, and others in the race seeking the progressive mantle, including Ald. Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 10 Nov. 2022 Unlike Japan, Australia or South Korea however, Taiwan is not a formal U.S. ally, and America is therefore not legally obligated to defend it. Anatol Lieven, Time, 8 Nov. 2022 DeSantis had been a staunch ally of Trump, who famously endorsed him with a tweet in his first run for governor in 2017. Mark Skoneki, Orlando Sentinel, 6 Nov. 2022 Jordan is strong ally of former President Donald Trump, whom the previous leadership of Twitter banned from the platform—and whom Musk might welcome back. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 30 Oct. 2022 Swalwell, from a neighboring Bay Area district, has been a stalwart Pelosi ally since entering Congress a decade ago and has had an up-close seat for the attacks regularly leveled against her. Ashley Parker, Hannah Allam And Marianna Sotomayor, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Oct. 2022 Gosar, a conservative, is a strong ally of former President Donald Trump and echoed the baseless 2020 election conspiracies Trump promoted. Tirzah Christopher, The Arizona Republic, 26 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ally was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ally

Cite this Entry

“Ally.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ally. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

ally 1 of 3

verb

allied; allying
: to form a connection or relation between : unite
especially : to join in an alliance

ally

2 of 3

noun

plural allies
1
: a plant or animal linked to another by genetic or evolutionary relationship
ferns and their allies
2
a
: one associated or united with another for some common purpose
b
plural capitalized : the Allied nations in World War I or World War II

-ally

3 of 3

adverb suffix

-al·​ly
(ə-)lē

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