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[noun al-oi, uh-loi; verb uh-loi] /noun ˈæl ɔɪ, əˈlɔɪ; verb əˈlɔɪ/
a substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal or metals with a nonmetal, intimately mixed, as by fusion or electrodeposition.
a less costly metal mixed with a more valuable one.
standard; quality; fineness.
admixture, as of good with evil.
anything added that serves to reduce quality or purity.
verb (used with object)
to mix (metals or metal with nonmetal) so as to form an alloy.
to reduce in value by an admixture of a less costly metal.
to debase, impair, or reduce by admixture; adulterate.
Origin of alloy
1590-1600; < Middle French aloi, Old French alei, noun derivative of aleier to combine < Latin alligāre to bind up, equivalent to al- al- + ligāre to bind (see ally, ligament); replacing earlier allay, Middle English < Anglo-French allai
Related forms
unalloyed, adjective
Can be confused
allay, alley, alloy, ally (see synonym study at allay)
4. fusion, blend, composite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for alloy
Historical Examples
  • I make no objection to that alloy, which I am told is necessary, and fits it for being moulded to my purposes.

  • They were pleasures which had no alloy in her own humble lot, and why desert them?

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
  • One of the most valuable resistance wires is of an alloy known as German silver.

  • For easily fusing, make an alloy of equal parts of brass and zinc.

  • Its alloy is much used for high-speed cutting tools, the steel hardening when cooled in the air and being called self-hardening.

  • I can find no other reference with regard to this alloy mentioned by Lindeck.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • An alloy is a mixture or medley, anything allowed is according to law, and hallow is the same word as holy.

    Archaic England Harold Bayley
  • Of the two latter they formed an alloy, and made tools of the bronze.

    Mexico Charles Reginald Enock
  • Electrum is an alloy of gold and silver, Stannum of lead and silver (see note 33, p. 473).

    De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola
  • Terne plate is sheet-iron coated with an alloy of lead and tin.

    Commercial Geography Jacques W. Redway
British Dictionary definitions for alloy


noun (ˈælɔɪ; əˈlɔɪ)
a metallic material, such as steel, brass, or bronze, consisting of a mixture of two or more metals or of metallic elements with nonmetallic elements. Alloys often have physical properties markedly different from those of the pure metals
something that impairs the quality or reduces the value of the thing to which it is added
verb (transitive) (əˈlɔɪ)
to add (one metal or element to another metal or element) to obtain a substance with a desired property
to debase (a pure substance) by mixing with an inferior element
to diminish or impair
Word Origin
C16: from Old French aloi a mixture, from aloier to combine, from Latin alligāre, from ligāre to bind
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 alloy

early 14c. "relative freedom of a noble metal from alloy or other impurities," from Anglo-French alai, Old French aloi, from aloiier (see alloy (v.)). Meaning " base metal alloyed with a noble metal" is from c.1400. Modern spelling from late 17c.


c.1400, "mix with a baser metal," from Old French aloiier "assemble, join," from Latin alligare "bind to, tie to," compound of ad- "to" (see ad-) + ligare "to bind" (see ligament); hence "bind one thing to another." Related: Alloyed; alloying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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alloy in Medicine

alloy al·loy (āl'oi', ə-loi')
A homogeneous mixture or solid solution of two or more metals, the atoms of one replacing or occupying interstitial positions between the atoms of the other.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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alloy in Science
A metallic substance made by mixing and fusing two or more metals, or a metal and a nonmetal, to obtain desirable qualities such as hardness, lightness, and strength. Brass, bronze, and steel are all alloys.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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alloy in Culture
alloy [(al-oy, uh-loy)]

A material made of two or more metals, or of a metal and another material. For example, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. Alloys often have unexpected characteristics. In the examples given above, brass is stronger than either copper or zinc, and steel is stronger than either iron or carbon.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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alloy in Technology
A language by Thanasis Mitsolides which combines functional programming, object-oriented programming and logic programming ideas, and is suitable for massively parallel systems.
Evaluating modes support serial or parallel execution, eager evaluation or lazy evaluation, nondeterminism or multiple solutions etc. ALLOY is simple as it only requires 29 primitives in all (half of which are for object oriented programming support).
It runs on SPARC.
["The Design and Implementation of ALLOY, a Parallel Higher Level Programming Language", Thanasis Mitsolides, PhD Thesis NYU 1990].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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