al·loy (ăloi′, ə-loi)
1. A metallic solid or liquid that is composed of a homogeneous mixture of two or more metals or of metals and nonmetal or metalloid elements, usually for the purpose of imparting or increasing specific characteristics or properties: Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.
2. A mixture; an amalgam: "Television news has ... always been an alloy of journalism and show business" (Bill Moyers).
3. The relative degree of mixture with a base metal; fineness.
4. Something added that lowers value or purity.
tr.v. (ə-loi, ăloi′) al·loyed, al·loy·ing, al·loys
1. To combine (metals) to form an alloy.
2. To combine; mix: idealism that was alloyed with political skill.
3. To debase by the addition of an inferior element.
[Alteration (influenced by French aloi) of obsolete allay, from Middle English alay, from Old North French allai, from allayer, to alloy, from Latin alligāre, to bind : ad-, ad- + ligāre, to bind; see leig- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus