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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English alayen, aleyen, aleggen, from Old English āleċġan (to put, place, lay down, lay aside, throw down, give up, cease from, abandon; put down, allay, suppress, abolish, conquer, destroy, overcome, refute; lay upon, inflict, impose upon; diminish, take away, refuse, lessen, withhold), from Proto-Germanic *uzlagjaną (to lay down), equivalent to a- +‎ lay. Cognate with German erlegen (to impose, cause to succumb, kill), Gothic 𐌿𐍃𐌻𐌰𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (uslagjan, to lay down). In Middle English the word was identical to forms of allege and alloy, leading to much overlapping of senses.


  • IPA(key): /əˈleɪ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪ
  • (file)


allay (third-person singular simple present allays, present participle allaying, simple past and past participle allayed)

  1. (transitive) To make quiet or put at rest; to pacify or appease; to quell; to calm.
    Synonyms: appease, assuage, compose, soothe, calm, quiet
    to allay popular excitement
    to allay the tumult of the passions
    • 1888, William Morris, Signs of Change [] [1], London: Reeves and Turner, page 104:
      They were forced to try to allay discontent by palliative measures.
    • 1891, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet. A Detective Story, 3rd edition, London, New York, N.Y.: Ward, Lock, Bowden, and Co., [], published 1892, →OCLC:
      He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance at the gate.
    • 1983, James C. H. Shen, “Dropping the First Shoe”, in Robert Myers, editor, The U.S. & Free China: How the U.S. Sold Out Its Ally[2], Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books Ltd., →ISBN, page 84:
      Kissinger was obviously doing his best to allay our government's growing apprehension in connection with Nixon's forthcoming trip to Peking.
    • 2020 February 12, Mark Sweney, “Mobile World Congress axed after firms quit over coronavirus fears”, in The Guardian[3]:
      The trade show’s organisers had attempted to allay concerns by announcing more stringent health and safety measures including a ban on handshakes, and taking attendees’ temperatures.
  2. (transitive) To alleviate; to abate; to mitigate.
    Synonyms: alleviate, abate
    to allay the severity of affliction or the bitterness of adversity
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To subside, abate, become peaceful.
  4. (archaic) To mix (metals); to mix with a baser metal; to alloy; to deteriorate.
  5. (archaic, by extension) To make worse by the introduction of inferior elements.
    • 1639, Thomas Fuller, The Historie of the Holy Warr:
      Yet far be it from us to condemn all their works to be dross, because debased and allayed with superstitious intents []



allay (plural allays)

  1. Alleviation; abatement; check.
  2. (obsolete) An alloy.






  1. harvest or digging up of potatoes or tubers




  1. (transitive) to dig, dig up, dig out, excavate; to harvest tubers


See also[edit]