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allay

[uh-ley] /əˈleɪ/
verb (used with object), allayed, allaying.
1.
to put (fear, doubt, suspicion, anger, etc.) to rest; calm; quiet.
2.
to lessen or relieve; mitigate; alleviate:
to allay pain.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English aleyen, Old English ālecgan to put down, allay (ā- a-3 + lecgan to lay1); spelling -ll- shows influence of the now obsolete allege (< Anglo-French, Old French aleg(i)er; see allege) to alleviate, allay
Related forms
allayer, noun
unallayed, adjective
Can be confused
allay, alley, alloy, ally (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. soften, assuage. Allay, moderate, soothe mean to reduce excitement or emotion. To allay is to lay to rest or lull to a sense of security, possibly by making the emotion seem unjustified: to allay suspicion, anxiety, fears. To moderate is to tone down any excess and thus to restore calm: to moderate the expression of one's grief. To soothe is to exert a pacifying or tranquilizing influence: to soothe a terrified child. 2. lighten, mollify, temper, ease.
Antonyms
1. excite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for allayer

allay

/əˈleɪ/
verb
1.
to relieve (pain, grief, etc) or be relieved
2.
(transitive) to reduce (fear, anger, etc)
Word Origin
Old English ālecgan to put down, from lecgan to lay1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for allayer
allay
O.E. alecgan "to put down, remit, give up," a Gmc. compound (cf. Goth. uslagjan, O.H.G. irleccan, Ger. erlegen), from a- "down, aside" + lecgan "to lay" (see lay). Pronunciations of early M.E. -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in M.E. with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy and allege, especially the latter in an obs. sense of "to lighten," from L. ad- "to" + levis (see lever).
"Amid the overlapping of meanings that thus arose, there was developed a perplexing network of uses of allay and allege, that belong entirely to no one of the original vbs., but combine the senses of two or more of them." [OED]
The double -l- is 17c., a mistaken Latinism.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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