Definition of ale in English:

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Pronunciation: /eɪl/


[mass noun]
1chiefly British Any beer other than lager, stout, or porter: a draught of ale [count noun]: traditional cask-conditioned ales
More example sentences
  • The most common, or at least best known are lager, ale, stout and pilsner.
  • The Skeff Bar, Eyre Square, raised the price of a pint of stout, ale, lager, cider and a measure of whiskey by 10 cents.
  • Two publicans in the city centre were found to have added 10 cents to the prices of a measure of whiskey and pints of stout, ale, lager and cider.
1.1North American Beer brewed by top fermentation.
Example sentences
  • Acrid with the cigars and pipes held by half the room's population and sweet with wine and brewing ale.
  • They found references indicating that about 445 years ago, a non-stout, non-porter black ale was brewed in Belgium.
  • Evander smiled as he watched his little sister leave, taking another sip at the strong brew of ale that lay in front of him.
1.2 historical A drink made like beer but without the addition of hops.
Example sentences
  • Twenty years ago, seven out of every 10 pints drunk were ale.
  • He could see quite a few sailors, laughing, smoking and drinking foaming pints of ale.
  • I sat on bar stools, drinking pints of warm ale with my mates.


Old English alu, ealu, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse ǫl. Formerly the word referred especially to the paler varieties of beer.

  • beer from Old English:

    The ancestor of beer came from a Latin term used in monasteries. Classical Latin bibere ‘to drink’, is also behind beverage (Middle English), bibulous (late 17th century), and imbibe (Late Middle English). Although beer appears in Old English, it was not common before the 16th century, the usual word in earlier times being ale, which now refers to a drink made without hops. The late 16th-century proverb ‘Turkey, heresy, hops, and beer came into England all in one year’ reflects the difference. Ale continues to be applied to paler kinds of liquors for which the malt has not been roasted. Some areas still use beer and ale interchangeably. See also bib

Words that rhyme with ale

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