al·​lo·​cate | \ ˈa-lə-ˌkāt How to pronounce allocate (audio) \
allocated; allocating

Definition of allocate

transitive verb

1 : to apportion for a specific purpose or to particular persons or things : distribute allocate tasks among human and automated components
2 : to set apart or earmark : designate allocate a section of the building for special research purposes

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Other Words from allocate

allocatable \ ˈa-​lə-​ˌkā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce allocate (audio) \ adjective
allocation \ ˌa-​lə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce allocate (audio) \ noun
allocator \ ˈa-​lə-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce allocate (audio) \ noun

Examples of allocate in a Sentence

Money from the sale of the house was allocated to each of the children. We need to determine the best way to allocate our resources. Have enough funds been allocated to finance the project?
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Recent Examples on the Web If the difference between working hard and hardly working is hard to tell, that is not because people cannot be trusted to actually do their job, but because their bosses cannot be trusted to allocate and manage their work properly. Tomas Chamorro-premuzic, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 Gap, which operates brands including Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap and Athleta, is using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to better allocate its inventory, CFO Katrina O’Connell said. WSJ, 1 Sep. 2021 How exactly to wield authority and allocate services in such a crisis—not to mention who foots the bill—are intensely ideological questions. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2021 Despite efforts to allocate and issue the aid quickly, many of those who already applied for rental or mortgage assistance through those programs are still waiting for help as the Illinois eviction moratorium began to wind down. Darcel Rockett,, 27 Aug. 2021 Native people have been made invisible in the data policymakers use to address the public’s needs and allocate the necessary funding and attention, researchers and advocates say. NBC News, 25 Aug. 2021 Huang goes on to explain that part of the coping mechanism to deal with this is that the jaw slides forward to allocate more space for the tongue, creating the grinding motion. Kirbie Johnson, Allure, 24 Aug. 2021 The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to allocate $440,000 to seed an eviction legal defense program to support low-income renters. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 19 Aug. 2021 California’s complex water rights system is designed to allocate water use during times of shortage, and such curtailments, although rare, are not unheard of. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allocate.' 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 allocate

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for allocate

borrowed from Medieval Latin allocātus, past participle of allocāre "to place, stow, hire out, place on hire, allow, admit, credit," from Latin ad- ad- + locāre "to place, situate" — more at locate

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Time Traveler for allocate

Time Traveler

The first known use of allocate was in 1616

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allocate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for allocate



English Language Learners Definition of allocate

: to divide and give out (something) for a special reason or to particular people, companies, etc.


al·​lo·​cate | \ ˈa-lə-ˌkāt \
allocated; allocating

Kids Definition of allocate

1 : to divide and give out for a special reason or to particular people or things Funds were allocated among the clubs.
2 : to set apart for a particular purpose Part of the classroom was allocated for reading.

More from Merriam-Webster on allocate

Nglish: Translation of allocate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allocate for Arabic Speakers


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