allege

verb

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

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

Did you know?

These days, someone alleges something before presenting evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all). But the word allege comes directly from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning "to submit (something) in evidence or as justification." (Alleggen traces back to the Anglo-French word aleger, meaning "to lighten, free, or exculpate.") Our word has at times in the past carried a meaning closer to that of its ancestor's: it was once applied when bringing someone or something forward as a source or authority in court, as in "a text alleged in support of the argument." The word has also been used to mean "to bring forward as a reason or excuse," as in these lines from Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre: "I did not like to walk at this hour alone with Mr. Rochester in the shadowy orchard; but I could not find a reason to allege for leaving him."

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?
Recent Examples on the Web Giuffre alleged that Maxwell -- the socialite daughter of British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell -- had for years enabled and participated in Epstein's abuse. James Hill, ABC News, 8 July 2024 The agreement would include the guilty plea, after the DOJ alleged Boeing had violated a 2021 settlement, and an additional $243.6 million fine. Jack Birle, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 8 July 2024 Clark filed suit in 2019 against the Department of Corrections, alleging cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, equal protection under the law. Staff Report, Hartford Courant, 8 July 2024 This methodology, the NFL argues, wasn’t even proposed by the plaintiffs, bears no rational relationship to alleged harms and indicates jurors were confused about applicable math and data. Michael McCann, Sportico.com, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for allege 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allege.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

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Dictionary Entries Near allege

Cite this Entry

“Allege.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allege. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

allege

verb
al·​lege ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio)
alleged; alleging
1
: to state as a fact but without proof
allege a person's guilt
2
: to offer as a reason or excuse
allege illness to avoid work
alleged
ə-ˈlejd
-ˈlej-əd
adjective
allegedly
ə-ˈlej-əd-lē
adverb

Legal Definition

allege

transitive verb
al·​lege ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio)
alleged; alleging
1
: to state without proof or before proving
2
: to state (as a fact) in a pleading : aver
Etymology

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

More from Merriam-Webster on allege

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