al·​low·​ance | \ ə-ˈlau̇-ən(t)s How to pronounce allowance (audio) \

Definition of allowance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a sum granted as a reimbursement or bounty or for expenses a salary that includes a cost-of-living allowance especially : a sum regularly provided for personal or household expenses Each child receives a weekly allowance.
b : a fixed or available amount provide an allowance of time for recreation
c : a share or portion allotted or granted
d : a reduction from a list price or stated price a trade-in allowance
2 : the act of regarding bad behavior or a mistake as less serious or bad because of some special circumstance Some allowance should be made for her inexperience. The plan makes no allowance for bad weather.
3 : the act of allowing something : permission
4 : an allowed dimensional difference between mating parts of a machine
5 : an imposed handicap (as in a horse race)


allowanced; allowancing

Definition of allowance (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : to put on a fixed allowance (as of food and drink)
2 archaic : to supply in a fixed or regular quantity

Synonyms for allowance

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of allowance in a Sentence

Noun a monthly allowance for household expenses Each of their children gets a weekly allowance of five dollars. the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C the tax allowance for married couples They performed poorly, but allowances should be made for their inexperience.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun ProPublica will pay each full-time reporter’s salary (up to $75,000), plus an allowance for benefits. ProPublica, 15 Sep. 2022 Many still find that there is too much allowance for fossil fuels within the bill, largely due to the compromise reached with Manchin, NPR reports. Devika Rao, The Week, 12 Sep. 2022 Flightline, a son of Tapit, has raced just four times but has been brilliant each time, including a 12 3/4-length victory here last summer in an allowance race (when his odds were 1-5). Jay Posner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Aug. 2022 Hours before the Run for the Roses, Creative Minister won an allowance optional claiming race with a good stretch showing despite carrying the most weight in the field. Mark Inabinett |, al, 11 June 2022 But since then rent prices have exploded to $2,118 per month on average in July, while a senior airman’s housing allowance is currently $1,647. R.j. Rico, al, 20 Aug. 2022 But since then rent prices have exploded to $2,118 per month in July, while a senior airman’s housing allowance is currently $1,647. R.j. Rico, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Aug. 2022 That was the highest per-yardage allowance by the defense since 2014 with the exception of the 2018 crater (4.52). Nathan Baird, cleveland, 23 July 2022 Will the allowance be provided upfront or on a reimbursement basis? Rebecca Edwards, Forbes, 15 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allowance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of allowance


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


1758, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for allowance


Middle English allowaunce, allouance "commendation, confirmation (of a privilege), allocation of funds," borrowed from Anglo-French alouance, allowance "admission as legally valid, allocation, payment," from aluer, aloer "to place, allot, accept as legally valid" + -ance -ance — more at allow


derivative of allowance entry 1

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Time Traveler for allowance

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near allowance



allowance account

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Statistics for allowance

Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Allowance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for allowance


al·​low·​ance | \ ə-ˈlau̇-əns How to pronounce allowance (audio) \

Kids Definition of allowance

1 : an amount of money given regularly for a specific purpose He earns his weekly allowance.
2 : a share given out an allowance of time
3 : the act of considering things that could affect a result


al·​low·​ance | \ ə-ˈlau̇-əns How to pronounce allowance (audio) \

Legal Definition of allowance

1 : an allotted share: as
a : a sum granted as a reimbursement or payment for expenses an allowance to support the deceased's family deduction for a moving allowance
b : a sum granted as a reduction or increase an allowance for depreciation
2 : an act of allowing allowance of a deduction

More from Merriam-Webster on allowance

Nglish: Translation of allowance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allowance for Arabic Speakers


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