al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Definition of allege

transitive verb

1 : to assert without proof or before proving a report alleging that the company deliberately overcharged its customers She is alleged to have stolen more than $50,000 over the course of several years.
2 : to bring forward as a reason or excuse
3 archaic : to adduce or bring forward as a source or authority

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

These days, someone "alleges" something before presenting the evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all), but the word actually derives from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning "to submit (something) in evidence or as justification." Alleggen, in turn, traces back to Anglo-French and probably ultimately to Latin allegare, meaning "to send as a representative" or "to offer as proof in support of a plea." Indeed, allege once referred to the actions of someone who came forward to testify in court; this sense isn't used anymore, but it led to the development of the current "assert without proof" sense.

Examples of allege in a Sentence

He alleged that the mayor has accepted bribes. The mayor is alleged to have accepted bribes. You allege that she stole a large quantity of money. Do you have any proof?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Prosecutors had alleged that the defendant was Medhane Yehdego Mered. Washington Post, "The Latest: Italian court rules mistaken identity, frees man," 13 July 2019 Prosecutors allege that Aguilar’s grip around Leathers’ neck was so tight that some of the bones in his neck broke. Chris Harris,, "Slain Grammy-Winning Musician Was Choked for 30 Minutes While Girlfriend Allegedly Punched Him," 12 July 2019 After alleging a match to Vilchez Lazo’s saliva, investigators wrote a series of search warrants and built a larger case against him. Evan Sernoffsky,, "SF prosecutors fight bid to free ‘Rideshare Rapist’ suspect over shoddy police work," 12 July 2019 In a federal lawsuit, Bria Fisher — five months into a high-risk pregnancy at the time — and boyfriend Michael Miller allege Perry was aggressive from the start. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Unarmed man shot in back by IMPD officer settles lawsuit for millions," 11 July 2019 The complaint alleges the resident was an acquaintance of then-Col. Jessica Anderson,, "OIG Report: Baltimore Police marine unit misspent $30k on boat salvage," 10 July 2019 The service member alleged that there were at least nine incidents of misconduct between February 2017 and February 2018, which included unwanted kissing, touching and rubbing up against her. Gordon Lubold, WSJ, "Investigators Find No Evidence of Sexual Misconduct by Joint Chiefs Nominee Gen. John Hyten," 10 July 2019 As the plantiffs allege, that is exactly the argument UMG and Sony have made in refusing to honor their requests. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "What Are Masters and Why Do Taylor Swift & Other Artists Keep Fighting for Them?," 3 July 2019 Prosecutors alleged the lane closures were part of a deliberate effort to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Republican incumbent Christie in his 2013 re-election bid. Joshua Girsky And Madeleine Thompson, CNN, "Bridgegate aide released from prison," 1 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allege.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of allege

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for allege

Middle English alleggen to submit in evidence or as justification, adduce, from Anglo-French aleger, allegger, probably in part modification of Medieval Latin allegare, from Latin, to send as a representative, adduce in support of a plea (from ad- + legare to depute), in part from Anglo-French aleger to lighten, free, exculpate, from Late Latin alleviare to relieve — more at legate, alleviate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allege

Listen to Our Podcast about allege

Statistics for allege

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allege

The first known use of allege was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for allege



English Language Learners Definition of allege

: to state without definite proof that someone has done something wrong or illegal


al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Kids Definition of allege

: to state as fact but without proof
al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Legal Definition of allege

1 : to state without proof or before proving
2 : to state (as a fact) in a pleading : aver

History and Etymology for allege

Old French alegier to alleviate, free, confused with Old French alleguer to allege, from Medieval Latin allegare — see allegata

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on allege

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allege

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allege

Spanish Central: Translation of allege

Nglish: Translation of allege for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allege for Arabic Speakers

Comments on allege

What made you want to look up allege? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!