Ally

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Be careful with the pronunciation of the homographs of ally. They are cognates, with the general sense of '[being a] supporter', colleague or friend'. Allies are people, or nations or other institutions, bound together in pursuit of a common purpose. In the case of nations, the 'common purpose' is usually strategic - military or political. (Ally is derived from Latin alligāre 'to bind to', combining al-, a phonetic variant of the prefix ad- with ligāre 'to bind' (as in ligature).)

  • The noun 'an ally', meaning 'a friend/supporter/co-operator/confederate', is best stressed on the first syllable, 'AL-eye' IPA: /ˈæl aɪ./.
    • A group of Allies is an Alliance (pronounced with stress on the second syllable, 'a-LIE-uns', IPA: /ə ˈlaɪ əns/).
      • Alliance was sometimes used to mean 'marriage', particularly where it encouraged two families to join their interests, such as neighbouring estates, or competing firms, etc. This led to the adoption into English of the French word mésalliance (also misalliance), which means " A union between two people that is thought to be unsuitable or inappropriate; esp[ecially] a marriage with a person of a lower social position" (OED, 2020).
    • The Allies usually means in the British writing of history those nations who were allied to the UK in a particular context, e.g. "the nations (including Britain, France, Russia, and later Italy and the US) opposing the Central Powers in the First World War, and the nations (including Britain, the Soviet Union, and the US) opposing the Axis Powers in the Second World War" (Australian Oxford Dictionary, (2 ed.) London, OUP, 2004). In 1815, the Allies were 'the Great Powers' who fought against and ultimately defeated Napoleon: Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain.
  • The verb 'to ally', meaning 'to make [oneself] a mutual supporter' to or with another, is commonly used reflexively or in such passive constructions as 'X was allied with Y'.
    • The past forms allied can be pronounced with either syllable stressed, 'AL-eyed' IPA: /ˈæ laɪd /, or 'er-LEYED' /ə ˈlaɪd/; LPD adds "- but in Allied Forces usually /ˈæ laɪd/.
    • The -ing participle allying is best pronounced with second syllable stress, 'er-LY-ing', IPA: /æ ˈlaɪ ɪŋ/, though in GA this is used pari passu with a pronunciation with stress on the first syllable, 'AL-eye-ing', /ˈæ laɪ ɪŋ/.
    • The pronunciation of the form allies causes confusion. because of the different stresses of the two homographs .