al·​low | \ ə-ˈlau̇ How to pronounce allow (audio) \
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 ofevidence that allows of only one conclusion
2 : to give consideration to circumstances or contingencies used with fora 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for allow



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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 By 2035, Minnesota Power intends to transition the 468-megawatt Boswell Unit 4 off coal, which could mean a switch to natural gas, biomass or other sources as advances in technology allow. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Power shutting, converting final two coal plants by 2035," 12 Jan. 2021 Pence and the cabinet would then have up to four days to send yet another declaration repeating their conclusion that Trump is unable to perform his duties which would again allow Pence to take over. Britni De La Cretaz,, "Here’s What Would Happen If The 25th Amendment Is Invoked," 7 Jan. 2021 House leaders have also suggested that a rules change could allow remote gathering, but that is unlikely: On Wednesday, the House voted 187-149 against making such a change. New York Times, "As State Legislatures Aim to Convene Amid Covid, One Tries a Drive-In," 7 Jan. 2021 In the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes famously predicted productivity gains would allow his grandchildren to live comfortably working 15 hours per week. Colette Shade, The New Republic, "Crying at Work Isn’t the Answer," 6 Jan. 2021 While some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted ahead of Election Day, Georgia’s laws prohibit the counting and tabulating of those ballots before polls close tonight. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "When will we know who won the Georgia Senate runoff elections? Probably not tonight," 6 Jan. 2021 In reality, a 50-50 Senate with Harris breaking ties would still leave Biden significantly constrained, able to move no further than the most moderate Democrat would allow. Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times, "Democrats close in on Senate control with Warnock win and Ossoff lead," 5 Jan. 2021 Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle III argued in court documents that the judge should not allow Simmons to have a hearing. Christina Carrega, CNN, "This prisoner says he's been waiting 43 years for a fair trial in a racist Louisiana parish. A hearing may be his final chance," 5 Jan. 2021 Public health officials believe that the mutations, including some changes to the crucial spike proteins, allow the virus to bind more strongly and enter human cells more easily. Aidin Vaziri,, "Bay Area on high alert as fears grow over new coronavirus strain," 5 Jan. 2021

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 1a(t)

History and Etymology for allow

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

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Time Traveler for allow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for allow

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for allow


How to pronounce allow (audio)

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 How to pronounce allow (audio) \
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 How to pronounce allow (audio) \

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 How to pronounce allow (audio) \ adjective

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