The Meaning of Ally: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of ally? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word ally, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word ally mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word ally can be used as a noun or verb. As a verb, this word can be used as a transitive verb to mean to unite or form a connection with, or as an intransitive verb to mean to form or enter into alliance with someone or something. As a noun, the word ally refers to a sovereign or state that is associated with another through a treaty, and can also be used more generally to refer to someone who is associated to someone else as a helper. It is often used to refer to someone who tries to help a minority group, such as the LGBTQ community. The noun is also used in biology to refer to a plant or animal linked to another by genetic or taxonomic proximity. -Ally is also an adverbial suffix that can be added to adjectives that end in -ic, such as terrific and terrifically. Different suffixes including ed, ing, ble, and s can be used to create the related words allied (adj), allying, and the plural allies. The pronunciation of ally is ə-lī.

Ally can also be used as a proper noun to refer to the Allied Powers. These were led by Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union during World War II while the primaries in the Axis Powers were Germany, Italy, and Japan, according to USHMM

There are also many different languages that use words that mean ally (​​ˈælaɪ). You may notice that many of these words are very similar to the word ally. This is likely because both the word ally and these other translations have a common origin. This usually happens with languages of a similar origin, like the romance languages. This list of translations for the word ally is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Persian: متحد‎ (mottahed), همپیمان‎ (ham-peymân)
  •  Armenian: դաշնակից‎
  •  Tagalog: kapanig‎
  •  Italian: alleato‎ (masc.)
  •  Malay: sekutu‎
  •  Spanish: aliado‎
  •  Russian: сою́зник‎ (masc.)
  •  Ancient Greek: σύμμαχος‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: aliado‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Alliierter‎ (masc.), Alliierte‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: sojusznik‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: bondgenoot‎ (masc.), bondgenote‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: aliat‎ (masc.) (n)
  •  Indonesian: sekutu‎
  •  Arabic: حَلِيف‎, حُلَفَاء‎ (pl.)
  •  Finnish: liittolainen‎
  •  Swedish: allierad‎, bundsförvant‎ (common)
  •  Czech: spojenec‎ (masc.)
  •  Latin: socius‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 同盟国‎ (どうめいこく, dōmeikoku)
  •  Mandarin: 盟國‎, 盟国‎ (méngguó)
  •  Hebrew: בֶּן בְּרִית‎
  •  Slovene: zaveznik‎ (masc.), zaveznica‎ (fem.)
  •  Maori: haumi‎, uku‎, whakauru‎
  •  French: allié‎ (masc.)

How can the word ally be used in a sentence?

Ally can be used in many different ways in the English language. Below are several examples of ally.

The straight allies worked in cooperation with the gays and friends of lesbians to take the issues of social justice to a global stage. They fought against injustice and workplace discrimination, fighting against systematic oppression for inclusion.

The white people acted as allies to support diversity and shift the focus of world leadership to systemic racism and white supremacy. In Texas, they helped fight for the removal of confederacy monuments. A good ally does not talk over the group they are fighting for, but amplifies authentic voices.

Russia allied itself with France, Africa, Turkey and Canada during the momentous year of EU reform to bring fortune and squash other countries’ ambition.

Perry formed an instrumental ally at Princeton University who helped him get a job in Washington. Their ambitions bore resemblance, and they vowed to never tell each other lies. He was from a wealthy family.

Even the allies who are not impacted by gender inequality look to create reform. 

The tribes sought to ally themselves with the invaders, but it was no use. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word ally?

There are a plethora of different words that one can use in place of the word ally (əˈlaɪ). These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word ally is provided by Thesaurus

  •  sidekick
  •  coadjutor
  •  bosom buddy
  •  cousin
  •  playmate
  •  roommate
  •  comrade
  •  crony
  •  familiar
  •  alter ego
  •  cohort
  •  collaborator
  •  pal
  •  schoolmate
  •  co-worker
  •  accomplice
  •  friend
  •  consort
  •  spare
  •  mate
  •  soul mate
  •  accessory
  •  classmate
  •  associate
  •  helper
  •  intimate
  •  confidant
  •  compatriot
  •  confederate
  •  colleague
  •  well-wisher
  •  buddy
  •  chum
  •  acquaintance
  •  partner
  •  companion
  •  coalition

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word ally. These are known as antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word ally is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • terrorist
  •  criminal
  •  opponent
  •  traitor
  •  enemy
  •  disputant
  •  inquisitor
  •  assailant
  •  calumniator
  •  saboteur
  •  asperser
  •  guerrilla
  •  opposition
  •  emulator
  •  agent
  •  antagonist
  •  defamer
  •  other side
  •  murderer
  •  traducer
  •  rebel
  •  backbiter
  •  invader
  •  villain
  •  attacker
  •  assassin
  •  contender
  •  adversary
  •  bandit
  •  foe
  •  vilifier
  •  betrayer
  •  rival
  •  seditionist
  •  prosecutor
  •  slanderer
  •  falsifier
  •  defiler
  •  bad person
  •  detractor
  •  archenemy
  •  competitor
  •  revolutionary
  •  informer
  •  spy
  •  fifth column

What is the origin of the word ally?

According to Etymonline, the word ally has been used as a verb since the late 13c as the Middle English allien/Middle English alien to mean to join in marriage. This comes from the Old French alier/aillaier (Modern French allier) meaning to combine or unite, from a differentiated stem of the French allier from the Latin alligare/Latin alligāre/Latin alligō meaning to bind to or tie to. This comes from the Latin ad meaning to and the root ligare/ligāre meaning to bind. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European roots leig meaning to tie or bing. Ally has been used to mean to form an alliance or associate with since the late 14c. The obsolete noun form of ally has also been used since the late 14c to refer to a relative or kinsman. Ally has been used since the mid 15c to refer to someone who is united with one another by treaty or league. The Allies are the name of the nations aligned against the Central Powers of Europe in the first world war. These are aligned against Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II.

Overall, the word ally means to align in friendship or toward a common cause or characteristics. This friendly association can also be used in biology to refer to a type of evolutionary relationship. An ally might fight for a just cause that they are not necessarily a part of. This 14th century word is related to words like auxiliary, alloy, and other words with such similitude.


  1. ally: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. ALLY Synonyms: 16 Synonyms & Antonyms for ALLY | Thesaurus 
  3. ENEMY Synonyms: 55 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENEMY | Thesaurus 
  4. ally | Origin and meaning of ally | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Ally | Definition of Ally | Merriam-Webster 
  6. Axis Alliance in World War II | Holocaust Encyclopedia