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 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 Now the list is being used to allocate scarce vaccines, a much more difficult proposition. Washington Post, "Major U.S. companies are lobbying in a scrum for early vaccine," 19 Dec. 2020 Machine learning provides an equitable, precise and expedient capability to allocate our precious vaccine supplies. Gary Velasquez, Fortune, "The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is dangerously flawed. Science and data could fix it," 18 Dec. 2020 In October, for example, alliance members succeeded in convincing Cuyahoga County to allocate $4 million in federal money to support the arts and culture sector during the coronavirus pandemic. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cultural groups seek more financial, political muscle for the arts through new alliance," 5 Dec. 2020 Next up for the Supreme Court will be taking up President Donald Trump’s policy, blocked by a lower court, to exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from the census count that will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives. Dallas News, "An early look at census numbers in North Texas shows Dallas County’s self-response rate is the biggest loser," 22 Oct. 2020 South Korea, which resisted COVID-19 lockdowns via extensive surveillance and testing, used its playbook from the 2015 MERS coronavirus outbreak to allocate patients based on symptom severity and bed availability. Lionel Laurent Bloomberg Opinion (tns), Star Tribune, "Are hospitals ready for COVID's second wave?," 14 Oct. 2020 The job involves presiding over the bills that allocate $1.4 trillion of annual federal spending. Skyler Swisher,, "Wasserman Schultz loses bid for one of the most powerful leadership jobs in Congress," 3 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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allocate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 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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