To alleviate or reduce something, such as pain, fear, or worry; to calm or pacify someone or something.


US English

UK English

Part of speech



Calm, relieve, soothe, ease, alleviate, mitigate, assuage, mollify, pacify, reduce.


Aggravate, intensify, exacerbate, heighten, increase, magnify, augment, provoke.

Example sentences

  • She tried to allay her friend’s fears by telling her that everything would be alright.
  • The doctor prescribed medication to allay the patient’s pain.
  • The company offered a discount to allay customer complaints about the product’s quality.
  • The teacher’s kind words helped allay the students’ anxiety before the test.


“Allay” is a versatile verb that is commonly used to describe the act of reducing or calming something. It is often used in the context of emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or worry, but can also refer to physical sensations, such as pain or discomfort.

The word “allay” is derived from the Old English word “alegian,” meaning to alleviate or lessen. The suffix “-lay” is often used in other words to indicate a similar sense of reducing or calming, such as in the words “allay,” “delay,” and “relay."

The prefix “al-” is a common variation of “allay,” and it is often used to indicate a sense of completeness or totality. For example, the word “alleviate” is a variation of “allay” that means to reduce or alleviate completely. Similarly, the word “alliance” comes from “allay” and refers to a close association or bond between people or groups that have come together to allay common fears or worries.

It is important to note that “allay” is often used in a positive sense, to describe the act of reducing something negative. Its antonyms, on the other hand, are generally negative in nature, such as “aggravate” or “provoke.” Overall, “allay” is a useful word that can be used in a variety of contexts to describe the act of reducing or calming something, and it is a great addition to any writer’s vocabulary