1. Arrangement or position in a straight line or in parallel lines.
a. The process of adjusting parts so that they are in proper relative position: A set of gears needs periodic alignment.
b. The condition of having parts so adjusted: Binocular lenses that are out of alignment will yield a double image.
3. A ground plan: Blueprints for the building included an alignment and a profile.
4. The act of aligning or the condition of being aligned.
5. An arrangement or alliance of groups: a new alignment of factions in the party.
a. An arrangement or positioning of players: a defensive alignment.
b. The grouping or positioning of teams, as in a conference or league.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.