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

Definition of allow

transitive verb

1a : permit doesn't allow people to smoke in his home
b : to fail to restrain or prevent allow the dog to roam
2a : 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
4a 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 ofevidence that allows of only one conclusion
2 : to give consideration to circumstances or contingencies used with fora plan that allows for expansion

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Synonyms & Antonyms for allow



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The government relaxed the rules on June 8 to allow foreigners who do not have COVID-19 to visit immediate family in Canada — including spouses and common-law partners. Jamie L. Lareau, USA TODAY, "She hasn't seen her Canadian boyfriend in months. They want the same border rights as married couples.," 3 July 2020 Back in March, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas election code to allow political subdivisions to postpone their 2020 elections from May 2 to Nov. 3. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Around Deer Park: Enormous nest on water tower belongs to monk parakeets," 3 July 2020 With six teams not playing this year, the league held a dispersal draft to allow the clubs who are taking the field to acquire players from those inactive teams. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Professional baseball games are back in town this weekend. Here's what you need to know about the Milwaukee Milkmen.," 3 July 2020 The fund, for example, has purchased iPads to allow hospital patients to communicate with their family and friends, since most visitors are not allowed. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "Master hornist in Boerne seeks to ‘play hope back into the world’," 3 July 2020 In some cities, entire urban landscapes are being transformed to allow restaurant patrons to spread out outdoors. Liza Weisstuch, Washington Post, "To safely reopen, facilities throw rules out the window and embrace creativity," 3 July 2020 The Charles Jordan, East Portland and Mt. Scott community centers have remained open as temporary shelters to allow homeless people to socially distance. oregonlive, "Portland considering November ballot measure for tax levy to fund parks system," 3 July 2020 Several states have reversed their decisions to allow the resumption of certain indoor activities, including eating at restaurants, as coronavirus cases surge. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "McDonald's hits pause on reopening dining rooms as coronavirus cases rise," 2 July 2020 In 2018, voters in Michigan overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow people to vote absentee without providing an excuse. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "Daily Trail Markers: Trump and Biden spar over jobs report as COVID cases spike," 2 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allow.' 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 allow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for allow

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

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Time Traveler for allow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for allow

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce allow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of allow

: to permit (something) : to regard or treat (something) as acceptable
: to permit (someone) to have or do something
: to permit (someone) to go or come in, out, etc.


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

Kids Definition of allow

1 : to give permission to Mom allowed us to stay up late.
2 : to fail to prevent Don't allow the dog to roam.
3 : to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money) Our parents allowed us each five dollars to spend.
4 : to accept as true : concede I'm willing to allow that he may be right.
5 : to consider when making a decision or a calculation Our plans didn't allow for the possibility of rain.
6 : to make it possible to have or do something Your shoes should be big enough to allow for growth.
al·​low | \ ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio) \

Legal Definition of allow

: 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

Other Words from allow

allowability \ ə-​ˌlau̇-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
allowable \ ə-​ˈlau̇-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce allowable (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on allow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allow

Spanish Central: Translation of allow

Nglish: Translation of allow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allow for Arabic Speakers

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