allow

verb

al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
allowed; allowing; allows

transitive verb

1
a
: permit
doesn't allow people to smoke in his home
b
: to fail to restrain or prevent
allow the dog to roam
2
a
: to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money)
allow an hour for lunch
b
: to reckon as a deduction or an addition
allow a gallon for leakage
3
: admit, concede
must allow that money causes problems in marriage
4
a
chiefly Southern US and Midland US : to be of the opinion : think
b
dialect : say, state
c
: to express an opinion
usually used with as how or that
5
chiefly Southern US and Midland US : intend, plan

intransitive verb

1
: to make a possibility : admit
used with of
evidence that allows of only one conclusion
2
: to give consideration to circumstances or contingencies
used with for
a plan that allows for expansion
3
: to give an opportunity : permit
She worked on the project here and there as time allowed.
This should take 5 minutes for 1 strength-cardio circuit combo. If time allows, repeat once more for a 10-minute workout or twice more for a 15-minute workout.Tracy Teare
This plan is being implemented in phases as funding allows.Waterloo-Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier

Examples of allow in a Sentence

a religion that does not allow divorce They don't allow smoking in this hotel. I want to change my schedule, but my boss won't allow it. My boss wouldn't allow me to change my schedule. They don't allow people to smoke in this hotel. Women were not allowed in the club. The hospital doesn't allow visitors after 8 p.m. Her schedule doesn't allow her any time to run errands. The system allows you to transfer data easily from one computer to another. Occasional gaps allow passage through the mountains. See More
Recent Examples on the Web That's in sharp contrast to moons like Europa and Enceladus, where the subsurface oceans allow the constant remodeling of their surfaces, leaving them with much sparser crater histories. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 7 Feb. 2024 Republican voters who cast ballots in Tuesday's primary are also allowed to participate in Thursday's binding caucuses, but the state party has barred candidates who appeared on the primary ballot from also competing in the caucuses, forcing candidates to choose one event over the other. CBS News, 7 Feb. 2024 A number of states — including California’s nearest neighbors, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon — have allowed commercial sports gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way in a 2018 decision. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 He is not allowed however to talk about the incident with those part of the production who may testify or the alleged victim(s) of the shooting. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 This growth investment will allow Wrapmate to extend its lead as the go-to provider for individual, business, and commercial-grade vehicle wraps. Kansas City Star, 7 Feb. 2024 Under the current policy, officers are expected to try to deescalate a situation first and only then are allowed to use such weapons on a person who posed an immediate public safety threat. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2024 The Clippers main practice facility is built into the arena’s ground floor, alongside one of the full-size basketball courts, allowing fans to peek in. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 6 Feb. 2024 That's been easier recently, as Bluesky allowed users to share invites more frequently. Josh Hendrickson, PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English alowen, allowen "to commend, approve of, legally recognize, permit, take into account, compensate," borrowed from Anglo-French aluer, aloer "to place, allot, commend, accept as legally valid, permit, take into account, assess," probably in part from a- (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + loer "to praise," going back to Latin laudāre; in part going back to Medieval Latin allocāre "to place, admit, credit" — more at laud entry 2, allocate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(t)

Time Traveler
The first known use of allow was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near allow

Cite this Entry

“Allow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allow. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

allow

verb
al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
1
a
: to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money)
b
: to take into consideration as a deduction or an addition
allow a gallon for leakage
2
: admit sense 1b, concede
allowed that the situation was serious
3
: permit entry 1
gaps allow passage
will not allow smoking
4
: to give thought to what will probably happen later
allow for growth
allowable
-ə-bəl
adjective
allowably
-blē
adverb

Legal Definition

allow

transitive verb
al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
: to give approval of or permission for: as
a
: to grant fulfillment of
allowed her petition for relief
b
: to decide in favor of
allow a deduction on a tax return
c
: to permit to be presented
allows his claim
more jurisdictions will allow the cause of action
allowability
ə-ˌlau̇-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē
noun
allowable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on allow

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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