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 People need an investment policy on how much to allocate to certain riskier assets (stocks, real estate) and safer assets (bonds, CDs, and cash). Washington Post, "Investing in 2020 was a scary, bumpy ride. Here’s what to expect in 2021.," 29 Dec. 2020 In spring, the USPS Board of Governors pleaded with Congress to allocate $75 billion to the struggling agency. Alana Abramson, Time, "The Postal Service Delivered On Election Day. But the Agency Remains in Peril," 22 Dec. 2020 Napa County expects to receive 1,950 doses on Monday or Tuesday and will allocate them to hospitals and nursing homes that have the capability to vaccinate their own staffs, said spokeswoman Janet Upton. Carolyn Said,, "First Pfizer vaccines en route to Bay Area: What you need to know," 12 Dec. 2020 Pennsylvania, like nearly all the states, had decided to allocate all of its electors to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes. David G. Savage Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court says no to first and probably last high court appeal of 2020 presidential election," 8 Dec. 2020 The Illinois Department of Public Health expects its first shipment of 109,000 doses as early as Dec. 13, and will allocate the number of doses to each county based on its population. Robert Mccoppin,, "Chicago-area vaccination sites will be at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies — but also drive-thrus at schools, parks and maybe Six Flags," 4 Dec. 2020 The money comes from legislation that authorized the PSCA to sell up to $1.25 billion in bonds and allocate the money to every city and county K-12 school system and to higher institutions. al, "Alabama’s $50 million to USA for medical school shrouded in mystery," 3 Dec. 2020 The census will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives, which are subject to change every 10 years based on shifts in the population. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Census Bureau to miss 2020 deadline, undermining Trump's proposed modifications," 30 Dec. 2020 An aging population would also force the government to allocate more national resources for elder care and social services, which means there will be fewer resources to compete against the U.S. Helen Raleigh, National Review, "The Coming Global Backlash against China," 28 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for allocate

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allocate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for allocate


How to pronounce allocate (audio)

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.

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Comments on allocate

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