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

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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Synonyms for allowance

Synonyms: Noun

allotment, cut, end, part, piece, portion, proportion, quota, share, slice, take

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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

Caregivers who are involved with DCYF are eligible for kinship support funds — a mostly one-time payment for rent, utilities and bedding, as well as a one-time clothing allowance of up to $200. Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Grandparents raising grandkids say they need more help from Washington state," 28 Dec. 2018 While Pippa doesn't have a wardrobe allowance like Kate does, her closet is still highly curated. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "5 Shoe Brands Pippa Middleton Can't Stop Wearing—and Where to Shop Them," 20 Aug. 2018 Trained by Stephen Casey, Rockinn On Bye's previous victory came Nov. 1, 2015 in a starter allowance at Laurel., "Digest (June 2): Brigade beat by Albany Empire, 61-53," 2 June 2018 The benefits include a dry cleaning allowance, a stipend for wearing body cameras, and bonuses for earning college degrees. Michael Levenson,, "Raises for Methuen officers are astronomical — and a surprise for the city," 25 June 2018 Promote age-appropriate jobs that earn your children extra allowance, such as babysitting a younger sibling or doing extra chores. Bevone Ritchie, M.s., miamiherald, "You can't afford to wait: The importance of raising fiscally fit kids | Miami Herald," 18 Apr. 2018 Acting Correctional Services Commissioner Stephen Pokanis confirmed to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the protesters went to Parliament to demand the immediate payment of APEC allowances. Ciaran Mcquillan, The Seattle Times, "Police storm Papua New Guinea Parliament for APEC summit pay," 20 Nov. 2018 They are expected to address a variety of questions, including how effective the cap-and-trade program has been in reducing emissions, and potential oversupply of pollution allowances in the market. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Jerry Brown pushes California's relationship with China on economy, climate policy | The Sacramento Bee," 3 May 2018 The compensation section of Murdock's employment agreement, a copy of which was obtained by, does not contain an allowance for relocation expenses. Roy S. Johnson,, "Suspended BJCTA executive director received $20,000 for 'relocation expenses' in 2016," 26 Apr. 2018

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

20 May 2019

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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
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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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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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