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 Boudin did not specify what prompted the decision to allege that the attack was a hate crime. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. beating of Asian father was a hate crime, Boudin decides," 8 May 2021 At least 10 women, many of whom were former aides or staffers, have come forward to allege Cuomo touched them inappropriately or made crude comments during his long political career. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Cuomo denies all sexual misconduct allegations, says he 'didn't do anything wrong'," 26 Apr. 2021 Caprez also mentioned that Sipplen, Hicks’ lawyer, was the first to allege the use of the officer’s knee. Robin Goist, cleveland, "‘I can’t breathe:’ Video shows Akron police officer repeatedly shoving snow in man’s face during arrest," 8 Apr. 2021 Samsel isn't the first Capitol riot defendant to allege poor conditions during confinement, though his allegations are the most serious. CBS News, "Capitol riot defendant "viciously and savagely" beaten by guard in Washington, D.C. jail, lawyer says," 8 Apr. 2021 The organization’s work also informed the campaign to allege massive voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, despite all evidence pointing to a sound election. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Delta and Coca-Cola Won’t Save Voting Rights in Georgia," 5 Apr. 2021 Brockhouse and Rivera’s new boyfriend fought, and Brockhouse also called 911, to allege assault. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "`Misunderstood' and hoping to shed toxic image, Brockhouse rides again in San Antonio mayoral contest," 4 Apr. 2021 To file in state court, plaintiffs had to allege they were damaged in an amount greater than $250,000, consult with a mental health practitioner and retain counsel. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, "Breaking down University of Southern California's $1.1 billion in sex abuse settlements," 27 Mar. 2021 Nordean’s defense attorney, David Benjamin Smith, said last week that the government failed to allege any evidence of plans or conspiracy by him to commit any specific crime involving the destruction of government property. Washington Post, "U.S. moves to unseal new indictment of Proud Boys leaders from four states in Jan. 6 Capitol breach," 19 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for allege

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for allege

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allege.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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 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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