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 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 In the workshop, Machoian and Plante will discuss how regional filmmakers can establish collaborations and connections, take advantage of area resources, develop a small film crew, and finance and allocate a tiny budget. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah filmmaker will lead online Sundance Institute workshop on making movies outside Hollywood," 18 Sep. 2020 Still, Carter says more research is needed to figure out just how big of a threat A. stephensi poses to African cities—and how best to allocate limited resources to fight it. Mohammed El-said, Science | AAAS, "Spread of city-loving malaria mosquitoes could pose grave threat to Africa," 15 Sep. 2020 Many federal programs use data from the census to allocate funding and resources, and an undercount can mean dollars are allocated elsewhere. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, "Register to vote and get a daiquiri in Mesquite this weekend," 10 Sep. 2020 The proposal would spend about $440 million of the roughly $903 million in federal CARES Act money the state needs to allocate by the end of the year. Megan Henney, Fox News, "A second stimulus check? Why parents in this state could receive more cash," 4 Sep. 2020 On May 4, the Wauwatosa School Board passed a resolution asking for both state and federal leaders to allocate emergency stabilization aid to the nation's school districts. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Wauwatosa School District estimates it will spend $4 million to $5 million on coronavirus-related expenses," 2 Sep. 2020 Under the current law, none of that money is required to go to schools - though counties can choose to allocate a percentage to schools. Ramsey Archibald |, al, "The downward spiral of public school enrollment: Black Belt 2020," 1 Sep. 2020 In addition to the U.S. case, Teva and other generic-drug makers are grappling with civil lawsuits from a nationwide group of state attorneys general that accuse the companies of colluding to rig prices of drug and allocate customers. David Mclaughlin,, "Teva’s U.S. Unit Charged in Generic-Drug Price-Fixing Probe," 29 Aug. 2020 The administration said the switch would help the White House coronavirus task force better allocate scarce supplies. Harris Meyer, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 data often slowed by paper forms and fax machines, thanks to creaky US public health data system," 14 Aug. 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

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allocate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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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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