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 Bright has alleged he was removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after raising concerns over aspects of federal response to the virus. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: May 13-14," 15 May 2020 The witness tampering is alleged to have occurred between Dec. 1, 2019 and Jan. 23, 2020. oregonlive, "Two men accused of tampering with witness in connection with November 2017 homicide case," 14 May 2020 Earlier in the day, had alleged that Wimberly — who has been married to Eubanks since 2014 and whom shares daughter 2½-year-old daughter Palmer Corinne with her — had been having a two-year affair behind Eubanks' back. Dave Quinn,, "Cameran Eubanks Denies She Left Southern Charm Due to Allegations Her Husband Was Unfaithful," 14 May 2020 Separately, the state auditor has alleged that officials misappropriated money from the city’s water and wastewater funds and used it to spur a number of development deals, including Chill-Can. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can," 11 May 2020 In a separate lawsuit filed by state attorneys general led by Connecticut, Kellum is alleged to have communicated with executives at Mylan, Teva and other companies about substantial price increases on a number of products. Riley Griffin,, "Former Sandoz Executive Pleads Guilty in U.S. Price-Fixing Probe," 10 May 2020 The #MeToo factor Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, has alleged that while bringing a gym bag to Biden in a Capitol Hill office building in 1993, Biden pushed her against a wall, groped her and digitally penetrated her without consent. Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY, "Joe Biden has addressed Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation. Will voters care?," 3 May 2020 Cohen has alleged he was fired for reporting the behavior, and in February filed his own $1.5 million claim against ASU, accusing ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson of covering up the harassment. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "ASU booster accused of sexual harassment files $5 million claim against university, calling investigation 'a hatchet job'," 1 May 2020 Cole is alleged to be one of the leaders of Atomwaffen Division, which has been closely monitored by federal authorities. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Suspected member of neo-Nazi hate group sentenced for gun charge," 29 Apr. 2020

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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allege.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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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

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