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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s separate from the Board of Education-approved $75 million emergency spending allowance, which is covered by federal pandemic relief funds. Hannah Leone,, "Chicago Public Schools proposes $8.4 billon budget for 2021 as it copes with financial impact of COVID-19," 10 Aug. 2020 The additional benefits, which began in March, will bring all current SNAP participants to a maximum monthly allowance. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Food stamp benefits extended through August for Michigan families," 7 Aug. 2020 The company provides a daily allowance for commuting for New York employees. Chloe Melas, CNN, "L'Oreal workers are worried they could lose their jobs if they don't return to the office," 5 Aug. 2020 Felipe also stripped his father of his retirement allowance. Jeannette Neumann,, "Former King Abandons Spain in Disgrace as Legal Woes Pile Up," 3 Aug. 2020 Cezanne is 2 for 2 after an allowance optional claiming victory July 2 at Los Alamitos. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Honor A.P. ready for final Kentucky Derby prep in Saturday's Shared Belief at Del Mar," 31 July 2020 Districts throughout Arizona have varied in their allowance of organized team activity this summer, with some not allowing for any team workouts until August or September. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "AIA medical adviser: Arizona high school football timeline will depend on downward infection rate trend," 29 July 2020 Beginning with the September billing cycle and continuing through the end of 2020, Mediacom will provide up to 100 gigabytes of additional data to any broadband customer that exceeds their monthly data allowance for free, the company said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Data caps on Comcast, T-Mobile return on July 1," 2 July 2020 The bank had a loan loss allowance of $3.3 million in the first quarter, according to the FDIC reports. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska banks have solid 2020 start but face an uncertain year ahead," 4 June 2020

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 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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Statistics for allowance

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allowance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for allowance


How to pronounce allowance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of allowance

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

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