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

Keep scrolling for more

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?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Aides said that any projects solely associated with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the funds allocated to them would likely become part of the new Foundation, but details on individual projects have yet to be decided. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Officially Split From Their Joint Charity with Prince William and Kate Middleton," 20 June 2019 Some women worried about how to better track their spending and allocate more money toward savings. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "These women are turning to welding for a financial spark," 6 June 2019 Members of Congress and government auditors expressed wide agreement at a hearing in March that the HUD program needs legislative changes so the department can allocate the money more quickly. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "What Long-Awaited Disaster Funding Does—And Does Not—Include," 5 June 2019 The school district released an online survey on Thursday for residents to consider a ballot measure to allocate up to $70 million for a construction project. New York Times, "Columbine High School Could Be Torn Down to Deter Copycats," 7 June 2019 Worried that the assistance would not be enough to ensure tenants of the 185-room hotel would find another home, Housing Commission members in March agreed to allocate $500,000 to help them relocate. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lawsuit argues Plaza Hotel owners must replace lost rooms," 6 June 2019 Census data is used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding each year, as well as in congressional apportionment and redistricting. Washington Post, "Judge declines to rule immediately on new evidence in census citizenship case," 6 June 2019 Miami could go under slot with some of their earlier college selections to allocate money for Fitterer. Wells Dusenbury,, "Marlins continue targeting college bats on Day 2 of MLB draft; land intriguing HS pitcher," 4 June 2019 The holdup over the bill was primarily over the amount of money going to Puerto Rico, which gets more than $900 million in this bill, and whether to allocate money to process migrants at the Mexico border. Kate Irby, sacbee, "Wildfire relief bill on its way to President Trump’s desk despite Republican ‘no’ votes," 3 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allocate

Statistics for allocate

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allocate

The first known use of allocate was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!