al·low | \ ə-ˈlau̇ \
allowed; allowing; allows

Definition of allow 

transitive verb

1a : permit doesn't allow people to smoke in his home

b : to fail to restrain or prevent allow the dog to roam

2a : to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money) allow an hour for lunch

b : to reckon as a deduction or an addition allow a gallon for leakage

3 : admit, concede must allow that money causes problems in marriage

4a chiefly Southern US and Midland US : to be of the opinion : think

b dialect : say, state

c : to express an opinion usually used with as how or that

5 chiefly Southern US and Midland US : intend, plan

intransitive verb

1 : to make a possibility : admit used with of evidence that allows of only one conclusion

2 : to give consideration to circumstances or contingencies used with for a plan that allows for expansion

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Synonyms & Antonyms for allow


acknowledge, admit, agree, concede, confess, fess (up), grant, own (up to)



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Examples of allow in a Sentence

a religion that does not allow divorce They don't allow smoking in this hotel. I want to change my schedule, but my boss won't allow it. My boss wouldn't allow me to change my schedule. They don't allow people to smoke in this hotel. Women were not allowed in the club. The hospital doesn't allow visitors after 8 p.m. Her schedule doesn't allow her any time to run errands. The system allows you to transfer data easily from one computer to another. Occasional gaps allow passage through the mountains.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The tribe doesn't allow day hikers, so visitors have to reserve overnight trips, and the reservations fill up quickly. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Arizona floods force hundreds of tourists to evacuate, reschedule trip to famous tribal land," 14 July 2018 Opponents, including a group called Scenic San Diego that has also fought against billboards, say that no coastal jurisdictions in California allow either building wraps or large advertising kiosks with video displays. David Garrick,, "Public outcry prompts port to shelve looser policy for building wrap ads," 13 July 2018 Illenium lends the dreamy horizons of his latest sounds, while Excision certainly bumps the drums as hard as the mood will allow. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Excision & Illenium Tease 'Gold (Stupid Love)' Collaboration: Hear the Sneak Peek," 13 July 2018 The won’t allow for as much density as Melvin wants to build, Christensen said. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Condo towers would bring taste of New York to Tobin Hill," 13 July 2018 Danièle Nouy, the head of the ECB’s supervisory arm, has complained that European rules allow dozens of national exemptions from common standards. The Economist, "Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers," 12 July 2018 Republicans argued that income tax cuts would allow Missourians to keep more of their money and would generate economic activity in the state, but Democrats worried the bill would knock a hole in the state’s already-tight budget. Allison Kite, kansascity, "Gov. Parson signs Missouri tax cut long sought by Republican lawmakers," 12 July 2018 The new gates could allow competing airlines like Southwest and Frontier to add flights at Charlotte Douglas, said Seth Kaplan, an industry analyst and managing director of Aviation Weekly. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte’s airport manages ‘tricky balance’ between low-cost hub and fancy new gates," 12 July 2018 But others who were on those teams say there's no way the coaches would have allowed that to happen. CBS News, ""A gauntlet of sexual deviancy": Ex-athletes describe lewd atmosphere at Ohio State," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allow.' 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 allow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for allow

Middle English, from Anglo-French aluer, alouer to place, apportion, allow, from Middle French allocare — more at allocate

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Phrases Related to allow

allow as how

allow for

allow of

Statistics for allow

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allow

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

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More Definitions for allow



English Language Learners Definition of allow

: to permit (something) : to regard or treat (something) as acceptable

: to permit (someone) to have or do something

: to permit (someone) to go or come in, out, etc.


al·low | \ ə-ˈlau̇ \
allowed; allowing

Kids Definition of allow

1 : to give permission to Mom allowed us to stay up late.

2 : to fail to prevent Don't allow the dog to roam.

3 : to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money) Our parents allowed us each five dollars to spend.

4 : to accept as true : concede I'm willing to allow that he may be right.

5 : to consider when making a decision or a calculation Our plans didn't allow for the possibility of rain.

6 : to make it possible to have or do something Your shoes should be big enough to allow for growth.

al·low | \ ə-ˈlau̇ \

Legal Definition of allow 

: to give approval of or permission for: as

a : to grant fulfillment of allowed her petition for relief

b : to decide in favor of allow a deduction on a tax return

c : to permit to be presented allows his claim more jurisdictions will allow the cause of action

Other words from allow

allowability \ə-ˌlau̇-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
allowable \ə-ˈlau̇-ə-bəl \ adjective

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Comments on allow

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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