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

Rapid growth in global air travel is prompting airlines and airport operators to shake up a decades-old system for allocating takeoff and landing slots at some of the world’s busiest airfields. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "Surging Air Traffic Prompts Rethink of Airport Gate Rights," 6 July 2019 The declaration allows the borough to use resources and conduct activities in excess of the $20,000 allocated in its fiscal year 2019 budget, Ward said. Anchorage Daily News, "Fairbanks borough mayor declares Shovel Creek wildfire a disaster emergency," 3 July 2019 In 2001 African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support. Olayinka Stephen Ilesanmi, Quartz Africa, "As Nigeria’s health infrastructure crumbles, doctors have become a key export," 3 July 2019 In all, Evers provided $65 million more for schools than what Republicans allocated. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers uses his vast veto power to raise school spending another $65 million, wipe out Tesla provision," 3 July 2019 The bulk of Cal Fire’s vegetation removal efforts are aimed at Northern and Central California. Gov. Gavin Newsom expedited the projects, allocating $35 million and exempting efforts from environmental review. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cal Fire San Diego rips out flammable vegetation in wildfire-prone areas as part of statewide initiative," 2 July 2019 One notable item for all parts of the state: The bill allocates $6 million for community mental health, a subject many advocates felt got short shrift in the Oregon Health Authority’s regular basis., "Oregon lawmakers approve pet projects, needed allocations on session’s final day," 30 June 2019 Attorney General William Barr on Friday declared a public-safety emergency in Alaska so the Justice Department could allocate more than $10 million toward fighting violent crime in some of the state’s rural communities. Fox News, "Alaska to receive $10M from Justice Department to combat violent crime, AG Barr says," 30 June 2019 It is set to begin in the coming months and council allocated another $250,000 this year. Sharon Coolidge,, "Cincinnati City Budget: Win, lose or draw?," 30 June 2019

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

Medieval Latin allocatus, past participle of allocare, from Latin ad- + locare to place, from locus place — more at stall

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Statistics for allocate

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allocate

The first known use of allocate was in 1616

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on allocate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allocate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allocate

Spanish Central: Translation of allocate

Nglish: Translation of allocate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allocate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on allocate

What made you want to look up allocate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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