al·lege | \ə-ˈlej \
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

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web

In addition, Desktop Metal alleges that one of its interns stole trade secrets and handed them over to Markforged. Hiawatha Bray,, "3D printing companies clash in federal court," 13 July 2018 More than 250 women and girls have alleged in police reports and lawsuits that Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "USOC Hires Golf Executive as CEO," 12 July 2018 Rodriguez’s grandson, Erik Mendoza, alleged to local station FOX 11. Chris Harris,, "California Woman Arrested After Allegedly Beating Man, 92, and Telling Him 'Go Back to Mexico'," 12 July 2018 Critics of Google have meanwhile alleged that search algorithms further damaging stereotypes about black women. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Americans Believe Tech Companies Are Censoring Political Views, New Poll Finds," 28 June 2018 In a 2014 lawsuit, Lamar alleged that Dre and Iovine had violated the settlement and owed him lucrative royalties from the sale of later Beats headphones. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine Hit With $25M Verdict at Beats Trial," 27 June 2018 The sentencing wraps up a years long affair in which prosecutors alleged 11 women came forward against Cook. Taylor Palmby, Teen Vogue, "Alec Cook Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Sexual Assault," 22 June 2018 The conduct alleged in these charges erodes public trust in the safety and effectiveness of medical products, including diagnostics. Emma Stefansky, The Hive, "Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Is Facing Decades in Prison," 16 June 2018 Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup weed killer caused cancer cleared a big hurdle Tuesday when a U.S. judge ruled that cancer victims and their families could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Sudhin Thanawala, The Seattle Times, "Lawsuits alleging Roundup caused cancer can move forward," 10 July 2018

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.

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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

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

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for allege

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

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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 \
alleged; alleging

Kids Definition of allege

: to state as fact but without proof

al·lege | \ə-ˈlej \
alleged; alleging

Legal Definition of allege 

1 : to state without proof or before proving

2 : to state (as a fact) in a pleading : aver

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