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[al-uh-moh-nee] /ˈæl əˌmoʊ ni/
Law. an allowance paid to a person by that person's spouse or former spouse for maintenance, granted by a court upon a legal separation or a divorce or while action is pending.
supply of the means of living; maintenance.
Origin of alimony
1645-55; < Latin alimōnia nourishment, sustenance, derivative of alimōn- (stem of alimō), equivalent to ali- (see aliment) + -mōn- action noun suffix parallel to -mentum -ment
Related forms
alimonied, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for alimony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The chief argument was directed against the claim for alimony.

    The Allen House T. S. Arthur
  • Where paternity is established the father is liable for support (or alimony).

    Women's Wild Oats C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • Only in rare cases and under peculiar circumstances will alimony be granted to the party in fault.

    Legal Status Of Women In Iowa Jennie Lansley Wilson
  • The next turn went on, and all went as merry as an alimony bell.

  • I'm buying the lady off, and persuaded John to pay his alimony to her.

    I Walked in Arden Jack Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for alimony


(law) (formerly) an allowance paid under a court order by one spouse to another when they are separated but not divorced See also maintenance
Word Origin
C17: from Latin alimōnia sustenance, from alere to nourish
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 alimony

1650s, "nourishment," also "allowance to a wife from a husband's estate, or in certain cases of separation," from Latin alimonia "food, support, nourishment, sustenance," from alere "to nourish" (see old) + -monia suffix signifying action, state, condition (cognate with Greek -men). Derived form palimony coined 1979.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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