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 \ 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?
See More
Recent Examples on the Web That would mean funding public schools based on enrollment projections made in July, even if the fall and winter headcounts typically used to allocate state dollars show fewer students. Leslie Postal,, "Florida school enrollment drops; leaders urge state to keep funding the same," 18 Sep. 2020 Census population counts are used to allocate congressional seats, with states such as Arizona with growing populations standing to gain seats at the expense of states with declining populations. Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, "Grassroots groups scrambling to avoid Latino census undercount amid COVID-19, early cutoff," 12 Sep. 2020 Fox said this process is critical because the results of the survey are used to allocate resources for developing strategic plans for Carroll Hospital, the Heath Department, and other nonprofit organizations in the community. Megan Woodward,, "Partnership seeks to identify community’s heath needs in triennial survey," 11 Sep. 2020 The census, which counts every person residing in the United States, is used to allocate seats in Congress, and states can lose out on a significant amount of funding without an accurate count. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Court deems Trump's efforts to exclude illegal immigrants from a census count as unlawful," 10 Sep. 2020 Bridgewater’s conviction that ultra-low yields are a game-changer for risk parity will resonate with many on Wall Street, who have also been fretting over the fate of traditional portfolios that allocate 60% to stocks and 40% to bonds. Justina Lee,, "Bridgewater’s Risk-Parity Shift Jolts a $400 Billion Quant Trade," 1 Sep. 2020 Under the tax law, an owner is supposed to keep records of personal versus business use and allocate expenses between them. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "President Trump’s Tax Deductions—and Yours," 30 Sep. 2020 Sonoma County officials had been contemplating how to best allocate nearly $150 million from PG&E’s bankruptcy settlement. J.d. Morris,, "‘It’s like God has no sympathy.’ Santa Rosa residents shaken by relentless onslaught of wildfires," 28 Sep. 2020 The chambers' budgets differ on how to allocate federal COVID-19 relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "House and Senate advance amended versions of Virginia budget," 28 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allocate

Time Traveler for allocate

Time Traveler

The first known use of allocate was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Statistics for allocate

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allocate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!