au·tho·rize | \ˈȯ-thə-ˌrīz \
authorized; authorizing

Definition of authorize 

transitive verb

1 : to endorse, empower, justify, or permit by or as if by some recognized or proper authority (such as custom, evidence, personal right, or regulating power) a custom authorized by time

2 : to invest especially with legal authority : empower She is authorized to act for her husband.

3 archaic : justify sense 1a

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Other Words from authorize

authorizer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for authorize


accredit, certify, commission, empower, enable, invest, license (also licence), qualify, vest, warrant



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Examples of authorize in a Sentence

The city council authorized the sale of the land. Who authorized the transfer of the funds?

Recent Examples on the Web

The council, which must authorize such expenses beforehand, is in summer recess and won’t reconvene until early September. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Judge turns down Harford's request to waive bond in $45 million rubblefill judgment appeal," 12 July 2018 In action taken at the meeting, RMWD Board members unanimously approved to authorize the general manager to purchase equipment to outfit the new Spartan fire engine at a maximum cost of $160,000. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Fire readiness begins with property checks, new fire truck," 21 June 2018 The rape charge relates to a woman who has not spoken publicly or been identified, according to the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Shane Dixon Kavanaugh,, "Harvey Weinstein turns himself in to face sex crime charges in New York," 25 May 2018 The official was not authorized to discuss the shooting by name and so remained anonymous, AP reported. Scott Berson And Matthew Martinez, miamiherald, "Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting suspect? | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018 The County Council has also authorized the hiring of a Baltimore law firm to handle the appeal of the verdict and judgment. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Judge turns down Harford's request to waive bond in $45 million rubblefill judgment appeal," 12 July 2018 But the statute authorizing highway districts like ACHD to charge their own registration fees on top of state fees also requires districts to follow rules established in the law that exempts heavy trucks. Sven Berg, idahostatesman, "Ada County drivers, you subsidize big trucks — even though they damage roads more.," 11 July 2018 The order also authorizes flushing water south of the lake instead of down the rivers that run to the coasts. Jennifer Kay,, "Blue-green algae, red tide soil beaches, threaten Florida tourism," 10 July 2018 Hardiman, a runner-up when Trump chose Neil M. Gorsuch as his high court nominee last year, received a wave of new attention in the weekend discussions, according to two people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly about it. Robert Costa, Washington Post, "Trump weighs top picks for Supreme Court amid last-minute maneuvering," 9 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for authorize

see author entry 1

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Statistics for authorize

Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for authorize

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

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English Language Learners Definition of authorize

: to give power or permission to (someone or something)

: to give legal or official approval to or for (something)


au·tho·rize | \ˈȯ-thə-ˌrīz \
authorized; authorizing

Kids Definition of authorize

1 : to give power to : give authority to Their guardian is authorized to act for them.

2 : to give legal or official approval to Who authorized the closing of school?


transitive verb
au·tho·rize | \ˈȯ-thə-ˌrīz \
authorized; authorizing

Legal Definition of authorize 

1 : to give permission to

2 : to give authority to act to

Other Words from authorize

authorization \ˌȯ-thə-rə-ˈzā-shən \ noun

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Comments on authorize

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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