See also: Ally and -ally

English edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English allien, alien (to form an alliance, associate, join; to become an ally; to introduce (someone) as an ally; to marry; to become related (to someone); to attack, engage in combat; to combine; (cooking) to combine ingredients, especially to bind them together) [and other forms],[1] from Anglo-Norman alier, allier, Middle French alier, allier [and other forms], and Old French alier (to join together, unite; to alloy (metals); (cooking) to combine ingredients) (modern French allier), from Latin alligāre,[2] the present active infinitive of alligō, adligō (to bind around, to, or up (something), bandage, fasten, fetter, tie; to hold fast; to detain, hinder), from al-, ad- (intensifying prefix) + ligō (to bind, tie; to bandage, wrap around; to unite) (from Proto-Indo-European *leyǵ- (to bind, tie)). Doublet of allay, alligate, alloy, and ligament.

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

ally (third-person singular simple present allies, present participle allying, simple past and past participle allied)

  1. (transitive)
    1. To unite or form a connection between (people or things), as between families by marriage, or between states by confederacy, league, or treaty.
    2. Chiefly followed by to or with: to connect or form a relation to (someone or something) by similarity in features or nature.
    3. (reflexive) To join or unite (oneself or itself) against, with, etc., someone or something else.
      • 1577, Peter de la Place [i.e. Pierre de la Place], “Of the Excellencie of a Christian Man, and the Way to Knowe Him”, in L[aurence] Tomson, transl., A Treatise of the Excellencie of a Christian Man, and Howe He may be Knowen. [], London: [] Christopher Barkar, [], →OCLC:
        To be ſhort, hauing thus ingrafted them into the body of his [God's] Sonne, he ioyneth and allieth him ſelfe to them, he maketh him ſelfe one with them, maketh them his children and heyres, partakers of his immortalitie and glorie, and all this he worketh by the inward vertue of his holy Ghost, []
      • 1742, [Samuel Richardson], “Letter XXIX”, in Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. [], volume III, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson; and sold by C[harles] Rivington, []; and J. Osborn, [], →OCLC, page 172:
        [W]e have ſo many of our firſt Titled Families vvho have ally'd themſelves to Trade, (vvhoſe Inducements vvere Money only) that it ceaſes to be either a VVonder as to the Fact, or a Diſgrace to the Honour.
      • 1841, W[illia]m H. Simmons, “Rain. A Colloquial Lecture.”, in [George Stillman Hillard], editor, The Boston Book. Being Specimens of Metropolitan Literature, Boston, Mass.: George W. Light, [], →OCLC, page 306:
        And do we upbraid thee [rain], in our heartless stupidity, because, rather than withhold thy life-giving dispensations, thou allyest thy gentle nature with thy opposites, and comest in unwelcome company—in chilly league with Eurus, or riding on the stormy wings of night-confounding Aquilo— []
      • 1849, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter X, in The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume II, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC, page 626:
        [George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax] had seen that the settlement of the government could be effected on Whig principles only, and who had therefore, for the time, allied himself closely with the Whigs.
      • 1861, [T. John Vickers], “The Book of Counsels”, in The New Koran of the Pacifican Friendhood: or Text-book of Turkish Reformers, in the Teaching and Example of Their Esteemed Master Jaido Morata, London: George Mainwaring, [], →OCLC, chapter XXIX, verses 24–25, page 375, column 1:
        A wise damsel walketh up and down discreetly in the world, minding her affairs: she regardeth not the pleading of vain lovers, but taketh counsel with her friends and allieth herself at last to one of true worth. Then she giveth up her whole heart to the service of her husband, and receiveth from him again his love and strong help and the flower of his estate beyond calcuation or desire.
      • 1887, Heinrich Heine, “English Fragments. London.”, in Mr. Leland, transl., edited by Havelock Ellis, The Prose Writings of Heinrich Heine: [] (The Camelot Series), London: Walter Scott [], →OCLC, page 51:
        Poor Poverty! [] Well art thou in the right when thou alliest thyself to Vice and Crime.
  2. (intransitive) Chiefly followed by with: to enter into an alliance or unite for a common aim.
    Synonym: make common cause
    • 1673, Gilbert Burnet, “The First Conference”, in A Vindication of the Authority, Constitution, and Laws of the Church and State of Scotland. [], Glasgow: Robert Sanders, [], →OCLC, page 62:
      [A]ftervvards he [Constantine the Great] allied vvith Licinius, and gave him his Siſter in marriage, and acknovvledged him his Colleague in the Empire.
    • 1837, Edward Lytton Bulwer [i.e., Edward Bulwer-Lytton], chapter VIII, in Athens: Its Rise and Fall: [], volume II, London: Saunders and Otley, [], →OCLC, book III (From the Battle of Marathon to the Battles of Platæa and Mycale, B.C. 490 – B.C. 479), page 195:
      Whatever injuries [] the Athenians have done me I forgive. [] If they will ally with me, rebuild the temples I have burnt.
Usage notes edit

The word is generally used in the passive form or reflexively.

Conjugation edit
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
Translations edit

Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English allie, alie [and other forms],[3] probably partly:

Noun edit

ally (plural allies)

  1. A person who co-operates with or helps another; an associate; a friend.
    • 1660, [Richard Allestree], “Sect[ion] V. Of the Second Advantage, Wealth.”, in The Gentlemans Calling, London: [] T[imothy] Garthwait [], →OCLC, page 83:
      [N]o attempt is made to call in God to their reſcue, as if he vvere an idle unconcern'd ſpectator of humane affairs, or ſo inconſiderable an ally, as not to be vvorth the care of engaging him on their ſide.
    • 1769, William Robertson, “Proofs and Illustrations. Note XLI. Sect. III. p. 186.”, in The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V. [], volume I, London: [] W. and W. Strahan, for W[illiam] Strahan, T[homas] Cadell, []; and J. Balfour, [], →OCLC, page 381:
      The rights of the ſeven Electors were ſupported by all the deſcendants and allies of their powerful families, who ſhared in the ſplendor and influence, which they enjoyed by this diſtinguiſhing privilege.
    • 1822 May 21, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], “The Culprit”, in Bracebridge Hall, or The Humourists. A Medley. [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: [] C. S. Van Winkle, [], →OCLC, page 197:
      [] Christy and his trusty ally, the one armed with a fowling piece, the other with an ancient blunderbuss, turned out as sentries to keep watch over this donjon keep.
    • 1916 December 29, James Joyce, chapter II, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, New York, N.Y.: B[enjamin] W. Huebsch, →OCLC, page 68:
      He became the ally of a boy named Aubrey Mills and founded with him a gang of adventurers in the avenue.
    1. A person who, or organization which, supports a demographic group subject to discrimination and/or misrepresentation but is not a member of the group; specifically (LGBT), a person who is not a member of the LGBT+ community but is supportive of it.
      I’m glad you want to be a better ally to the disabled.
  2. A person, group, state, etc., which is associated or united by treaty with another for a common (especially military or political) purpose; a confederate.
    The two countries were allies in World War I.
    • [1513], John Skelton, A Ballade of the Scottysshe Kynge, [London: Richard Fawkes], →OCLC; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1882, →OCLC, page [94]:
      To be ſo ſcornefull to your alye⸝ / Your counſeyle was not worth a flye.
    • 1640, Fra[ncis] Quarles, “[The First Century.] Chapter IX.”, in Enchiridion: Containing Institutions, Divine, Contemplative, Practical. Moral, Ethical, Oeconomicall, Politicall, London: [] R. F., published 1644, →OCLC, 1st book:
      If thou deſire to make vvarre vvith a Prince, vvith vvhom thou haſt formerly ratified a league; aſſaile ſome Ally of his, rather then himſelfe: [] his infidelity in not aſſiſting his Ally, vvill be diſcovered: Hereby thou ſhalt gaine thy ſelfe advantage, and facilitate thy deſignes.
    • 1851, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter XIV, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume III, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC, page 427:
      During some days indeed there was great reason to fear that the enemy would be entertained with a bloody fight between the English soldiers and their French allies.
    • 2019 May 5, Danette Chavez, “Campaigns are Waged On and Off the Game Of Thrones Battlefield (Newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 28 January 2021:
      Even before she begs Jon to keep his identity a secret, she reeks of desperation; in order to gain an ally that isn’t already in her entourage, she sets Gendry Baratheon né Rivers up in Storm’s End.
  3. Something regarded as connected with or related to another thing by similarity in features or nature.
    • 1630, Michael Drayton, “[The Muses Elizium.] The Fift Nimphall.”, in Cyril Brett, editor, Minor Poems of Michael Drayton, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press, published 1907, →OCLC, page 198, lines 113–115:
      the pretty Pansy then Ile tye / Like Stones some Chaine inchasing, / And next to them their neere Alye, / The purple Violet placing.
    • 1659–1660, Thomas Stanley, “[Timæus the Locrian. Of the Soul of the World, and of Nature.]”, in The History of Philosophy, the Third and Last Volume, [], volume III, London: [] Humphrey Moseley, and Thomas Dring, [], →OCLC, 1st part (Containing the Italick Sects), pages 134–135:
      The Aleptick art, and, its neereſt ally, Medicine, are deſign'd for the cure of bodies, reducing the faculties to the beſt harmony; []
    • 1697, Virgil, “The Fourth Book of the Georgics”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, page 112, lines 547–549:
      The frozen Earth lies buried there, belovv / A hilly heap, ſev'n Cubits deep in Snovv: / And all the VVeſt Allies of ſtormy Boreas blovv.
    • 1713, W[illiam] Derham, “[A Survey of the Particular Tribes of Animals.] Of the Head, Stomach, and Other Parts of Birds.”, in Physico-Theology: Or, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, from His Works of Creation. [], London: [] W[illiam] Innys, [], →OCLC, book VII (A Survey of Birds), page 384:
      And novv from the Head and Mouth, paſs vve to it's near Allie the Stomach, another no leſs notable than uſeful Part; []
    1. (taxonomy) An organism which is related to another organism through common evolutionary origin; specifically, a species which is closely related to another species, usually within the same family.
      The order of Gruiformes includes cranes and their allies.
      • 1979, Larry G. Marshall et al., “Calibration of the Great American Interchange: A radioisotope chronology for Late Tertiary interchange of terrestrial faunas between the Americas.”, in Science[2], volume 204, number 4390, →DOI, pages 272–279:
        Procyonids (raccoons and their allies), a group of North American origin, are first recorded in South America in a level immediately below a unit dated at 6.0 million years.
  4. (figuratively) A person, group, concept, etc., which is associated with another as a helper; an auxiliary; a supporter.
    • 1861, Henry Thomas Buckle, “An Examination of the Scotch Intellect during the Eighteenth Century”, in History of Civilization in England, volume II, London: Parker, Son, and Bourn, [], →OCLC, page 596:
      [S]cience, instead of being the enemy of religion, becomes its ally.
  5. (historical or obsolete) A kinsman or kinswoman; a relative.
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun edit

ally pl (plural only) (obsolete)

  1. One's relatives; kin, kindred, relations; also, relationship through descent or marriage; kinship.
    • 1556, John Heywood, chapter 29, in The Spider and the Flie. [], London: [] Tho[mas] Powell, →OCLC; republished as A[dolphus] W[illiam] Ward, editor, The Spider and the Flie. [] (Publications of the Spenser Society, New Series; 6), Manchester: [] [Charles E. Simms] for the Spenser Society, 1894, →OCLC, page 135:
      The ſpider: as of vſe in talke new entrid, / (Frendes axe of frends: the ſtate of their frends frendly,) / Axte how his coſins (thants father and mother) did. / His brothers ſiſters with all kyn and aly, / Thant ſaid thei did well.
  2. People, groups, states, etc., which are associated or united with each other for a common purpose; confederates; also, the state of being allied; alliance, confederation.

Etymology 3 edit

See alley.[5]

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈæli/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: al‧ly

Noun edit

ally (plural allies)

  1. Alternative spelling of alley (a glass marble or taw)

References edit

  1. ^ allīen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ ally, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2022; ally1, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 allīe, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ ally, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2022; ally1, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  5. ^ ally2, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit