al·low | \ə-ˈlau̇ \
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 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for allow


acknowledge, admit, agree, concede, confess, fess (up), grant, own (up to)



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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

Leaving the danger to fester might allow the threat to grow until Western forces are compelled to intervene directly and massively. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 That deadline allows teams to unilaterally rescind a qualifying offer as opposed to needing a player's consent after it. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks rescind qualifying offer; Jabari Parker joins Chicago Bulls," 14 July 2018 The bitcoin network allows anyone to move millions of dollars across the world without any in-person meetings, and without the approval of any financial institutions., "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 That, in turn, allows typical anti-tumor immune responses to proceed. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 That allows the institute to investigate only one-third of on-duty firefighter fatalities. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 YouTube allows creators to block comments with specific words and phrases. Adrianne Jeffries, New York Times, "Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments," 13 July 2018 Two trailheads along Eaton Road allow access to the preserve's trail network, at 8757 Eaton Road and 8731 Eaton Road, in Davisburg. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's most endangered species nears extinction in Oakland County," 13 July 2018 However, the German champions will not allow Martinez to leave if Napoli do make an offer for the Spanish international., "Napoli Reportedly Interested in Signing Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez Following Jorginho Departure," 13 July 2018

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, from Anglo-French aluer, alouer to place, apportion, allow, from Middle French allocare — more at allocate

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Phrases Related to allow

allow as how

allow for

allow of

Statistics for allow

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allow

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

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More Definitions for allow



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 \
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 \

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 \ adjective

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Comments on allow

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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