allow

verb
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

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

Editor’s note: This is Future View, a WSJ Opinion series allowing students to contribute on politics, culture and global affairs. WSJ, "What Would Compromise in Washington Look Like?," 5 Feb. 2019 Although the excursion sounds fun, Mike has one rule for the weekend: No phones allowed! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Will Show a Rare Reunion Tonight and Fans Are Losing It," 1 Feb. 2019 Women had to cook for their husbands, the only ones allowed to eat meat and eggs. Caterina Clerici & Eléonore Hamelin, Marie Claire, "Rwanda's Future Is Female," 1 Feb. 2019 Kathryn took the maximalist route instead, leaning up art behind the stacks, allowing some to teeter high and others to stay low. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "Kathryn M. Ireland's Kitchen Is A Treasure Trove Of Design Ideas," 22 Jan. 2019 Such a simple thing brought us closer, allowing my daughter and I to share in her tireless efforts to feed her family. Miriam Foley, Good Housekeeping, "I Didn't Appreciate My Mother-in-Law Until I Had a Daughter," 17 Jan. 2019 The idea behind the additional step is that the porous material will soak up much of the liquid base, allowing the glitter to go on in a thick, opaque coat. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "How To Apply Glitter Nail Polish the Right Way," 10 Jan. 2019 For now, though, the H10 is being marketed at PC makers, many of which allowed notebooks using the technology to be showed off at the event. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel's Optane Memory H10 marries super-fast Optane and SSD storage on one M.2 card," 9 Jan. 2019 It's quickly divided into two streams; having two parallel tracks allows the facility to continue operating even if key pieces of hardware are down for maintenance, Quinn told Ars. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 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.

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

9 Feb 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 \
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

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

to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!