allow

verb
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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for allow

Synonyms

green-light, have, permit, suffer

Antonyms

ban, enjoin, forbid, prohibit, proscribe, veto

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Mexico has also agreed to allow the U.S. to greatly expand its policy of returning migrants to Mexico to wait for a decision on their asylum cases. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Baja California migration chief resigns amid Mexico’s crackdown on illegal immigration," 11 July 2019 The lawsuit also asked a judge not to allow LaBarbera to go within five counties of Pearl River because the victim's mother still lives there. Vandana Rambaran, Fox News, "Killer of 16-year-old New York girl in 1980 released on parole despite outrage," 10 July 2019 Salvini has refused to allow humanitarian rescue ships into Italian ports, but some migrant boats continue to arrive in Italy on their own. Washington Post, "Italian minister Salvini closes migrant center in Sicily," 10 July 2019 Let the paella rest for a few minutes to allow the heat to evenly distribute. Tara Duggan, SFChronicle.com, "Recipe: How to make Bellota’s ‘San Francisco Treat’ Paella," 10 July 2019 At a time when sports consumers have so many options, the players and owners would be foolish to allow a work stoppage. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "MLB, players union have lots of hurdles to clear in next collective bargaining agreement," 10 July 2019 What may have seemed like an olive branch to allow easier access to driving and identification now could be an invitation for investigation, arrest, or deportation. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "ICE and the Ever-Widening Surveillance Dragnet," 10 July 2019 Extra hefty wheels on each chair appear to allow for better mobility on sand. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Sleeping Bear Dunes adds beach wheelchairs to improve accessibility," 9 July 2019 Arsenal would be prepared to pay a chunk of Mesut Ozil's wages in order to allow a loan move to Super Lig outfit Fenerbahce to go through this summer. SI.com, "Arsenal Prepared to Pay Huge Chunk of Mesut Ozil's Wage to Facilitate Fenerbahce Loan," 9 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allow

Statistics for allow

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allow

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for allow

allow

verb

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.

allow

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on allow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allow

Spanish Central: Translation of allow

Nglish: Translation of allow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on allow

What made you want to look up allow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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