Word Nerd: Allision, Allide

The Panamanian-flagged log ship Global Gold allided with Pier 1 while pulling into the Port of Astoria in October 2015 and leaked 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel from a gash on its port side.

Allision [ə•li•zhən]


1. Nautical: the striking of a vessel against a fixed object; the act of alliding

Allide  [ə•lʌɪd]


1. to hit against another object.

2. Maritime Law: when a moving vessel strikes a stationary or fixed object or structure, such as a bridge abutment, pier or rock formation. When a moving ship hits a stationary ship it is said to “allied” (as opposed to “collide”) and is found at fault


First known use is 1615. Allision arrives from the Latin allisus, the past participle of allīdere, a verb meaning “to strike against.” The current (and very rare) verb form doesn’t arrive until the early 18th century. Both allide and collide can be traced further back to the Latin verb laedere, which also means “to strike,” when combined with the Latin prefixes com- (meaning “together”) and ad- (meaning “toward”).

“The vessel allided with the jetty, leaving it on the rocks and stranding four crewmembers. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport rescued the crew members Saturday.”

—​Edward Stratton, “Grounded boat near Newport goes missing,” The Daily Astorian, Monday, March 12, 2012

“The Coast Guard is investigating a tug and barge allision — a nautical term indicating the striking of a moving vessel against a stationary vessel that is at anchor — occurred in the Columbia River at mile 48 near Westport, Ore., at approximately 3 a.m., Thursday.”

—​“Coast Guard investigates vessel allision in Columbia River,” The Daily Astorian, Friday, July 22, 2011

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