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

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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 The lawsuit alleges that AT&T lied to investors in order to hide DirecTV Now's failure. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Lawsuit: AT&T signed customers up for DirecTV Now without their knowledge," 17 Sep. 2019 The suit alleges school officials did not notify Doe's parents of the incident. al, "Alabama first-grader sexually assaulted at school, lawsuit claims," 16 Sep. 2019 According to TMZ Sports, the owner, George Santopietro, is alleging that Harden paid $82,200 for a week-long stay at the mansion. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "James Harden sued for allegedly damaging $30 million house with parties," 13 Sep. 2019 Smith's complaint alleged that Whitehead attempted to interfere in the city's investigation of Jason Alexander, a prominent city activist involved in the successful Yes on Prop. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Ethics complaint against Scottsdale Councilwoman Solange Whitehead dismissed," 10 Sep. 2019 In the first case, called Case 1000, Mandelblit alleges that Netanyahu accepted almost $280,000 worth of gifts, including champagne and cigars, from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. Washington Post, "For Netanyahu, winning reelection could be the only way to avoid corruption charges," 18 Sep. 2019 Mueller alleged in his report that President Donald Trump had asked Lewandowski twice in 2017 to tell former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Russia probe solely to election interference. Alana Abramson, Time, "In Corey Lewandowski's Hearing, Democrats Learn Escalating Impeachment Rhetoric Won't Make the White House Cooperate," 17 Sep. 2019 Taylor alleged in her lawsuit that Brown assaulted her twice in June 2017 and then raped her in May 2018. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Antonio Brown makes Patriots debut as his accuser is set to meet with NFL," 15 Sep. 2019 The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared with other bribes alleged in the scheme. Collin Binkley, Anchorage Daily News, "Felicity Huffman gets 14 days in jail, fine, community service for role in college admissions scam," 13 Sep. 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.

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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

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Statistics for allege

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for allege

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

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More Definitions for allege


How to pronounce allege (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on allege

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allege

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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