Allison Look up Allison at
fem. proper name, a diminutive of Alice (q.v.), via Old French Alison. Popular in U.S. as a girl's name from 1990s, but all but unknown there before 1946; it was popular in England and Scotland 13c.-17c. As a surname, it could represent "Alice's son."
alliterate (v.) Look up alliterate at
"begin with the same letter or sound," 1776 (implied in alliterated), back-formation from alliteration. Related: Alliterating.
alliteration (n.) Look up alliteration at
1650s, "repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of words in close succession," from Modern Latin alliterationem (nominative alliteratio), noun of action from past participle stem of alliterare "to begin with the same letter," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter (n.1)). Related: Alliterational.
alliterative (adj.) Look up alliterative at
1764, "characterized by alliteration," from stem of alliteration + -ive. Related: Alliteratively; Alliterativeness.
allo- Look up allo- at
word-forming element meaning "other," from Greek allos "other, different," cognate with Latin alius "other," from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond."
allocate (v.) Look up allocate at
"to set aside for a special purpose," 1630s, from Medieval Latin allocate (the common first word of writs authorizing payment), imperative plural of allocare "allocate, allot," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus). It is a twin of allow. Related: Allocated; allocating. English allocate as an adjective from mid-15c. in legal use.
allocation (n.) Look up allocation at
mid-15c., "authorization," from Middle French allocacion, from Medieval Latin allocationem (nominative allocatio), noun of action from past participle stem of allocare "allocate, allot," from assimilated form of Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus).
allocentric (adj.) Look up allocentric at
"concentrating on the other rather than oneself," 1927, from allo- "other" + -centric.
allogenic (adj.) Look up allogenic at
1888 in geology, from Greek allogenes "of another race, stranger," from allos "other, another, different" (see allo-) + -genes "born" (see -gen) + -ic. An earlier adjective was allogeneous "of a different kind or nature" (1842).
allograph (n.) Look up allograph at
"writing made by another person," by 1900, from allo- "other" + -graph "something written." Especially in law, "a deed not written by any of the parties to it." Linguistics sense "form of an alphabetic letter" is from 1951, with second element abstracted from grapheme. Related: Allographic.
allons Look up allons at
"well!" French, literally "let us go," first person plural imperative of aller "to go" (see alley (n.1)).
allonym (n.) Look up allonym at
"false proper name," 1867, from French allonyme or German allonym (1847), from Greek allos "other" (see allo-) + onyma "name" (see name (n.)).
allopath (n.) Look up allopath at
"one who practices allopathy," 1830, a back-formation from allopathy or else from German allopath (1823).
allopathic (adj.) Look up allopathic at
"pertaining to allopathy," 1830, from French allopathique, from allopathie (see allopathy). Related: Allopathically.
allopathy (n.) Look up allopathy at
1836, "treatment of disease by remedies that produce effects opposite to the symptoms," from German Allopathie (Hahnemann), from Greek allos "other" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + -patheia, "suffering, disease, feeling" (see -pathy). The term applied by homeopathists to traditional medicine; the formation is much-criticized by purists; the equivalent Greek compound had a different sense and was used in grammar, etc.
allot (v.) Look up allot at
"parcel out, divide or distribute as by lots," late 15c., also alot, from Old French aloter (Modern French allotir) "to divide by lots, to divide into lots," from à "to" (see ad-) + loter "lot," a word of Germanic origin (cognates: Gothic hlauts, Old High German hloz, Old English hlot; see lot). Related: Allotted; allotting; allotter; allottee.
allotheism (n.) Look up allotheism at
"worship of strange gods," 1650s, from allo- "other" + -theism.
allotment (n.) Look up allotment at
1570s, "action of allotting," from French allotement, from Old French aloter "divide by lots" (see allot). Or else a native formation from allot + -ment. Meaning "that which is allotted, portion assigned to someone or some purpose" is from 1670s.
allotrope (n.) Look up allotrope at
1847, back-formation from allotropy "variation of physical properties without change of substance," from Greek allotropos "in another manner;" see allo- "different" + -trope "way, manner." Diamond is an allotrope of carbon. Related: Allotropic.
allotropy (n.) Look up allotropy at
in chemistry, "property of existing in two or more distinct forms, variation of physical properties without change of substance," 1850, from French or German allotropie (1840), from Greek allotropia "variety," from allos "different, other" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + tropos "manner, way" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn").
allow (v.) Look up allow at
early 14c., allouen, "to commend, praise; approve of, be pleased with; appreciate the value of;" also, "take into account or give credit for," also, in law and philosophy, "recognize, admit as valid" (a privilege, an excuse, a statement, etc.). From late 14c. as "sanction or permit; condone;" in business use from early 15c.

The Middle English word is from Anglo-French alouer, Old French aloer, alloiier (13c.) "place, situate, arrange; allot, apportion, bestow, assign," from Latin allocare "allocate" (see allocate). This word in Old French was confused and ultimately merged with aloer; alloer "to praise, commend, approve," from Latin allaudare, adlaudare, compound of ad "to" (see ad-) + laudare "to praise" (see laud).
Between the two primary significations there naturally arose a variety of uses blending them in the general idea of assign with approval, grant, concede a thing claimed or urged, admit a thing offered, permit, etc., etc. [OED].
From the first word came the sense preserved in allowance "money granted;" from the second came allowance "permission based on approval." Meaning "assert, say," 19c. U.S. colloquial, also was in English dialect and goes back to 1570s. Related: Allowed; allowing.
allowable (adj.) Look up allowable at
late 14c., "worthy of praise;" mid-15c., "permissible, not forbidden," from Old French alloable "permissible, allowable," from alloer "allot, apportion, bestow" (see allow).
allowance (n.) Look up allowance at
late 14c., "praise" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French aloance "sanction, granting, allocation," from aloer "allot, apportion, assign" (see allow). As with allow, the English word involves senses of two different French words.

Meaning "sanction, approval, tolerance" is from 1550s. Sense of "a sum allotted to meet expenses" is from c. 1400. In accounts, meaning "a sum placed to one's credit" is attested from 1520s. Mechanical meaning "permissible deviation from a standard" is from 1903. To make allowances is literally to add or deduct a sum from someone's account for some special circumstance; figurative use of the phrase is attested from 1670s.
allowed (adj.) Look up allowed at
late 14c., "praised;" mid-15c., "assigned as a due share;" late 15c., "permitted," past participle adjective from allow.
alloy (n.) Look up alloy at
early 14c. "relative freedom of a noble metal from alloy or other impurities," from Anglo-French alai, Old French aloi "alloy," from aloiier (see alloy (v.)). Meaning " base metal alloyed with a noble metal" is from c. 1400. Modern spelling from late 17c. Meaning "any mixture of metals," without reference to values is from 1827.
alloy (v.) Look up alloy at
c. 1400, "mix (a metal) with a baser metal," from Old French aloiier, aliier "assemble, join," from Latin alligare "bind to, tie to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ligare "to bind, bind one thing to another, tie" (see ligament). In figurative use often implying debasement or reduction. Meaning "to mix any two metals" without reference to values is from 1822. Related: Alloyed; alloying.
allright Look up allright at
see alright.
allspice (n.) Look up allspice at
spice made from the berry of the Jamaican pimento, 1620s, from all + spice (n.), "so called because supposed to combine the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves" [Weekley].
allude (v.) Look up allude at
1530s, "to mock" (transitive, now obsolete), from Middle French alluder or directly from Latin alludere "to play, make fun of, joke, jest," also of waves lapping the shore, from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Meaning "make an indirect reference, point in passing" is from 1530s. Related: Alluded; alluding.
allumette (n.) Look up allumette at
"match for lighting," 1848, from French allumette "a match," from allumer "to light, kindle," from Old French alluminer, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + luminare "to shine," from Latin lumen (genitive luminis) "light," from suffixed form of PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness."
allure (v.) Look up allure at
"tempt by the offering of something desired," c. 1400, from Anglo-French alurer, Old French aleurer "to attract, captivate; train (a falcon to hunt)," from à "to" (see ad-) + loirre "falconer's lure," from a Frankish word (see lure), perhaps influenced by French allure "gait, way of walking." Related: Allured; alluring.
allure (n.) Look up allure at
"quality of being fascinating and desirable," 1540s, from allure (v.); properly this sense is in allurement.
allurement (n.) Look up allurement at
1540s, "means of alluring;" see allure (v.) + -ment. Meaning "act of alluring" is recorded from 1560s. Verbal noun alluring (n.) "action of attracting" is from 1530s; allurance (1580s) sometimes has been used as well.
alluring (adj.) Look up alluring at
"appealing to desires," 1570s, present participle adjective from allure (v.). Related: Alluringly.
allusion (n.) Look up allusion at
1540s, "metaphor, parable" (a sense now obsolete); 1550s, "word-play, joke;" 1610s as "passing or casual reference," from Latin allusionem (nominative allusio) "a playing with, a reference to," noun of action from past participle stem of alludere "to play, jest, make fun of," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). An allusion is never an outright or explicit mention of the person or thing the speaker seems to have in mind.
allusive (adj.) Look up allusive at
"involving allusions," c. 1600, from Latin allus-, past participle stem of alludere "to joke, jest" (see allude) + -ive. Related: Allusively; allusiveness.
alluvial (adj.) Look up alluvial at
"deposited by flowing water," 1794; see alluvium + -al (1).
alluvium (n.) Look up alluvium at
"matter deposited by flowing water," 1660s, from noun use of Medieval Latin alluvium, neuter of alluvius "washed against," from Latin alluere "wash against," from ad "to, against" (see ad-) + -luere, comb. form of lavere "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash").
ally (v.) Look up ally at
late 13c., "to join in marriage" (transitive), from Old French alier "combine, unite," from a differentiated stem of aliier (from Latin alligare "bind to, tie to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ligare "to bind, bind one thing to another, tie" (see ligament). Meaning "to form an alliance, join, associate" is late 14c. Related: allied; allying.
ally (n.) Look up ally at
late 14c., "relative, kinsman" (a sense now obsolete), from ally (v.); mid-15c. in the sense of "one united with another by treaty or league." Allies as the name of the nations aligned against the Central Powers in World War I is from 1914; as the nations aligned against Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II, from 1939.
Alma Look up Alma at
fem. proper name, from Latin Alma "nourishing," fem. of almus; from alere "to suckle, nourish," from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish."
Alma Mater (n.) Look up Alma Mater at
late 14c., Latin, literally "nurturing mother," a title given by Romans to certain goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele, from alma, fem. of almus "nourishing," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish") + mater "mother" (see mother (n.1)). In sense of "one's university or school," attested from 1710.
Almagest (n.) Look up Almagest at
late 14c., title of a treatise on astronomy by Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, from Old French almageste (13c.), from Arabic al majisti, from al "the" + Greek megiste "the greatest (composition)," from fem. of megistos, superlative of megas "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great").

Originally titled in Greek Mathematike syntaxis ("Mathematical Composition"), commonly called Megale syntaxis "Great Composition" (Greek megale is the fem. of megas); Arab translators in their admiration altered this. Extended in Middle English to other works on astrology or astronomy,
almah (n.) Look up almah at
in reference to Egypt and other nearby regions, "dancing-girl, belly-dancer," 1814, perhaps from Arabic almah (fem. adjective), "learned, knowing," in reference to their training, from alama "to know." Or perhaps from a Semitic root meaning "girl" (source also of Hebrew alma "a young girl, a damsel"). Her occupation was performance to amuse company in wealthy private homes and to sing at funerals, with higher status than the ghawazee (dancing girls), but the word was used broadly in English.
almanac (n.) Look up almanac at
late 14c., "book of permanent tables of astronomical data," attested in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c., via Old French almanach or directly from Medieval Latin almanachus, a word of uncertain origin and the subject of much speculation. It is probably ultimately from Arabic somehow; said in OED to be from a Spanish-Arabic al-manakh "calendar, almanac," which is possibly ultimately from Late Greek almenichiakon "calendar," which itself is said to be of Coptic origin. One-year versions, showing correspondence of days of the week and month, ecclesiastical calendars, etc., date from 16c.; "astrological and weather predictions appear in 16-17th c.; the 'useful statistics' are a modern feature" [OED].
almighty (adj.) Look up almighty at
Old English ælmihtig "all-powerful," also a by-name of God; compound of æl (see all) + mihtig (see mighty); common Germanic (cognates: Old Saxon alomahtig, Old High German alamahtic, German allmächtig, Old Norse almattigr), perhaps an early Germanic loan-translation of Latin omnipotens (see omnipotent). Originally only of deities; general use is by late 14c.
The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land. [Washington Irving, 1836]
Related: Almightily; almightiness. A 15c. text translates omnipotencia with allmyghtyhede "almightihood."
Almohades Look up Almohades at
12c. Muslim religious power that ruled Spain and North Africa, founded by Mohammed ibn Abdullah, the name is literally "the Unitarians," short for Arabic al-muwahhidun "they who profess the unity (of God)," so called for their absolutist monotheism.
almond (n.) Look up almond at
kernel of the fruit of the almond tree, c. 1300, from Old French almande, amande, earlier alemondle "almond," from Vulgar Latin *amendla, *amandula, from Latin amygdala (plural), from Greek amygdalos "an almond tree," a word of unknown origin, perhaps from Semitic. Late Old English had amygdales "almonds."

It was altered in Medieval Latin by influence of amandus "loveable." In French it acquired an unetymological -l-, perhaps from Spanish almendra "almond," which got it by influence of the many Spanish words beginning with the Arabic definite article al-. Perhaps through similar confusion, Italian has dropped the first letter entirely (mandorla). As an adjective, applied to eyes shaped like almonds, especially of certain Asiatic peoples, from 1849.
almoner (n.) Look up almoner at
"official distributor of alms on behalf of another," c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French almosnier "alms-giver" (12c.; Modern French aumônier), from Vulgar Latin *almosinarius, from Late Latin elemosinarius (adj.) "connected with alms," from eleemosyna "alms" (see alms). OED notes, "the Renascence brought up a number of artificial spellings ...."
almonry (n.) Look up almonry at
"place where alms are distributed," mid-15c., from Old French aulmosnerie; see almoner + -ery.