Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Zoology A wing or winglike structure or part.
  • noun Anatomy A flat, winglike anatomic process or part, especially of bone.
  • noun Botany The flattened border of some stems, fruits, and seeds, or either one of the two side petals of certain flowers in the pea family.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In botany: One of the two side petals of a papilionaceous blossom, or the membranous expansion of an organ, as of a fruit, seed, stem, etc. See cut under banner.
  • noun In mosses, one of the basal lobes or auricles of the leaves.
  • noun An axilla or axil.
  • noun In anat., zoöl., etc.:
  • noun A wing.
  • noun Any part of a wing-like or flap-like character: as, ala auris, the upper and outer part of the external ear.
  • noun The armpit.
  • noun plural Specifically, in Cirripedia, the lateral parts of the shell, as distinguished from the parietes, when they are overlapped by others; when they overlap they are termed radii.
  • noun In anc. Rom. arch., a wing or a small apartment placed on each side of the atrium of a Roman house. Audsley.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Biol.) A winglike organ, or part.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology A wing or winglike structure.
  • noun anatomy A winglike anatomical process or part, especially of bone.
  • noun botany The flattened border of some stems, fruits, and seeds, or one of the two side petals of certain flowers in the pea family.
  • noun architecture In ancient Rome, a small room opening into a larger room or courtyard.
  • preposition colloquial Alternative form of a la.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a wing of an insect
  • noun a flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin āla, wing.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originated 1730–40 from Latin āla ("wing").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French à la, by way of its English derivation a la.

Examples

Comments

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  • lit., "wing," in Latin; can refer to the wings of the ilium in the hip bone (os innominata), or the flarings of the inferior nose which are pierced by the nostrils (the ala nasi).

    December 10, 2006

  • This is used by Bugalkov in The Master and Margarita in the opening paragraphs of "The Execution." It seems to be used in the context of a military formation's wing--in this case the cavalry's wing.

    November 28, 2007