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From Old English ālecgan (“‘lay down’”), from Proto-Germanic, corresponding to ā- (“‘out, aside’”) + lecgan (“‘lay’”). Cognate with German erlegen. In Middle English the word was identical to forms of allege and alloy, leading to much overlapping of senses.
Third person singular
- (transitive) To make quiet or put at rest; to pacify or appease; to quell; to calm.
- to allay popular excitement
- to allay the tumult of the passions
- (transitive) To alleviate; to abate; to mitigate.
- to allay the severity of affliction or the bitterness of adversity
He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance at the gate.
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in A Study in Scarlet
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