al·low·ance | \ ə-ˈlau̇-ən(t)s \

Definition of allowance 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a share or portion allotted or granted

b : 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.

c : a fixed or available amount provide an allowance of time for recreation

d : a reduction from a list price or stated price a trade-in allowance

2 : an imposed handicap (as in a horse race)

3 : an allowed dimensional difference between mating parts of a machine

4 : the act of allowing something : permission

5 : 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.


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

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Examples of allowance in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Per pupil public and charter school allowances will range from $7,871 to $8,409. Alice Yin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's new education budget could mean looming school closures," 30 June 2018 However, this allowance can often be increased above $123,600 upon application, sometimes substantially., "The myth and reality of the Medi-Cal 'spend-down'," 24 Apr. 2018 Neil Nakahodo, Rick Montgomery, Shelly Yang, Keith MyersThe Kansas City Star His latest permit extended to October 2018, but that allowance was rescinded by ICE when agents arrested Jamal outside his home on the way to taking his daughter to school. Rick Montgomery And Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Kansas chemist Syed Jamal freed from jail pending his deportation case | The Kansas City Star," 20 Mar. 2018 Hand baggage allowance on BA is more generous compared to Norwegian, too, at 23kg (50 lbs.) and 56 x 45 x 25 cm versus 10kg (22 lbs.) and 55 x 40 x 23 cm. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "British Airways Is Adding Basic Economy to Its Long-Haul Flights," 6 Mar. 2018 And daily carbohydrate allowances on the keto diet will vary from person to person. Amy Gorin, NBC News, "What is the keto diet — and is it right for you?," 22 Feb. 2018 Since 2010 the tax-free personal allowance has risen from £6,475 to £11,500. The Economist, "Fishing for fundsWanted: radical proposals to fill Britain’s giant fiscal hole," 15 Feb. 2018 UOB’s specific allowance on loans rose 77 percent to S$781 million. Chanyaporn Chanjaroen,, "Singapore Banks Put Bad Loans in Rearview Mirror as Profit Rises," 13 Feb. 2018 Darla is right that their daughter's allowance is a separate issue. Perri O. Blumberg, Redbook, "Argument Settled: Should Kids Have to Earn Their Allowance?," 28 Oct. 2011

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.

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First Known Use of allowance


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


1758, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for allowance


see allow


see allow

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Statistics for allowance

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allowance

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

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More Definitions for allowance



English Language Learners Definition of allowance

: an amount of money that is given to someone regularly or for a specific purpose

: a small amount of money that is regularly given to children by their parents

: an amount of something (such as time) that is allowed or available


al·low·ance | \ ə-ˈlau̇-əns \

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 \

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

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Comments on allowance

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


to make amends

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