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 The Oregon Liquor Control Commission fast-tracked several additional allowances for Oregon businesses, including the ability to offer same-day delivery of beer, wine and cannabis. oregonlive, "SW Washington restaurants, bars can now sell pre-mixed cocktails to-go," 12 May 2020 Saudi citizens will also lose a bonus cost-of-living allowance that had been in place since 2018, according to the country’s finance minister., "Putin lifts Russia’s shutdown, but keeps many restrictions," 12 May 2020 Benjamin said Fischer's allowance will be extremely helpful for the small bakery and any other similarly small business. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announces plans to expand outdoor seating for restaurants," 12 May 2020 Welfare: Claimants of contributory employment and support allowance benefits can claim from day one rather than day eight of being unemployed. Alex Morales,, "Sunak’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ Virus Support Unprecedented in U.K.," 10 May 2020 That allowance hasn’t been given so much to Thomas and the Bad Boys. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michael Jordan's 'The Last Dance' has a double-standard problem. Just ask Isiah Thomas," 4 May 2020 Social gathering allowances increase from 10 to 200 throughout the stages. Stephen J. Beard, Indianapolis Star, "Key dates in Indiana's path to reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic," 1 May 2020 Racing for the first time in nearly two months, trainer Mark Casse’s colt was geared down by Luís Sáez to a 3¾-length victory in a $41,000 allowance mile. Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Santa Anita is still in a holding pattern," 24 Apr. 2020 Some of those facilities may close earlier than expected as falling costs for solar energy and firm prices for carbon pollution allowances makes coal power increasingly unprofitable. Time, "Germany, With Skies Cleared by Coronavirus Lockdown, Produces Record Solar Power," 21 Apr. 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allowance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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