allow

verb

al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
allowed; allowing; allows

transitive verb

1
a
: permit
doesn't allow people to smoke in his home
b
: to fail to restrain or prevent
allow the dog to roam
2
a
: 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
4
a
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
3
: to give an opportunity : permit
She worked on the project here and there as time allowed.
This should take 5 minutes for 1 strength-cardio circuit combo. If time allows, repeat once more for a 10-minute workout or twice more for a 15-minute workout.Tracy Teare
This plan is being implemented in phases as funding allows.Waterloo-Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web At no time did the administration force itself to officially state the war’s objectives and the strategy for achieving them—a failure that allowed the huge gaps in its planning to remain unnoticed and unchallenged. Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 But the new revisions to Caltrans’ lease terms suggest wood will not be allowed at all. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, 19 Feb. 2024 The Switch is one of the best-selling consoles of all time and its design allows it to be played as a portable device with a screen (like a tablet or handheld console) or connected to the TV (like a traditional home console), but the system’s sales have slowed down. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 The system allows the operator to lay minefields from as far as 15 kilometers away. Justin Ling, WIRED, 19 Feb. 2024 Here are the Forbes Inspector’s Highlights from the hotel: A gondola — located in the backyard — that allows easier access to the slopes in the winter. Angela Rodriguez, Sacramento Bee, 19 Feb. 2024 Our open primary system allows everyone to vote on the same ballot, regardless of their party. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 19 Feb. 2024 Survivalists are allowed one helpful item, but are given no help from the camera crews that are there to document their progress — although they are given the option of tapping out for medical or emotional reasons. Briana Richert, James Mercadante, EW.com, 19 Feb. 2024 State subsidies have allowed BGI to offer genomic sequencing services at a highly competitive price that is attractive to U.S. researchers, according to the commission. Didi Tang, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English alowen, allowen "to commend, approve of, legally recognize, permit, take into account, compensate," borrowed from Anglo-French aluer, aloer "to place, allot, commend, accept as legally valid, permit, take into account, assess," probably in part from a- (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + loer "to praise," going back to Latin laudāre; in part going back to Medieval Latin allocāre "to place, admit, credit" — more at laud entry 2, allocate

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near allow

Cite this Entry

“Allow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allow. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

allow

verb
al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
1
a
: to assign as a share or suitable amount (as of time or money)
b
: to take into consideration as a deduction or an addition
allow a gallon for leakage
2
: admit sense 1b, concede
allowed that the situation was serious
3
: permit entry 1
gaps allow passage
will not allow smoking
4
: to give thought to what will probably happen later
allow for growth
allowable
-ə-bəl
adjective
allowably
-blē
adverb

Legal Definition

allow

transitive verb
al·​low ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio)
: 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
allowability
ə-ˌlau̇-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē
noun
allowable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on allow

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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