au·​tho·​rize | \ ˈȯ-thə-ˌrīz How to pronounce authorize (audio) \
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



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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 Baldwin denied that the jet was placed on an alert status for that purpose, and a Newsom spokeswoman said the governor would never authorize such a mission. Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times, "Turmoil shakes California National Guard with firing, suspension of top generals," 1 May 2021 For more than two months, the House and Senate tourism committees worked on compromises and clarified the bill’s language to ensure the measure would only authorize shipment licenses for winemakers and not retailers such as wine shops. al, "Winemakers are a step closer to being able to ship their products directly to consumers in Alabama," 30 Apr. 2021 But federal grand juries, which authorize federal charges, were prevented from meeting due to safety protocols, and only resumed meeting in March, DeVillers said. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Former top prosecutor on Ohio House Bill 6 bribery case expects no trial in 2021," 14 Apr. 2021 The suits contend Trump overstepped his authority under the Antiquities Act, which many legal scholars doubt would authorize a president to reduce monuments designated by a predecessor. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Biden is poised to expand Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments. The real question is by how much?," 11 Apr. 2021 California will authorize $536 million toward forest management projects and efforts to reduce wildfires before the worst of the fire season strikes later this year, Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders said Thursday. CBS News, "California to devote $536 million in fight against devastating wildfires," 9 Apr. 2021 An independent advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted Friday to recommend that the agency authorize Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. NBC News, "FDA advisers recommend J&J vaccine for emergency authorization," 26 Feb. 2021 On Friday, a panel of researchers will vote on whether to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration authorize Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Jonathan Wosen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego to offer COVID-19 vaccines to police, teachers, farm workers and others starting Saturday," 24 Feb. 2021 Investors, who left the 33-year-old company for dead last year, are betting that regulators will authorize Novavax’s vaccine in the next couple of months. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Novavax Nears Covid-19 Vaccine Game Changer—After Years of Failure," 23 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for authorize

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for authorize

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Authorize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for authorize



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 How to pronounce authorize (audio) \
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 How to pronounce authorize (audio) \
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 How to pronounce authorize (audio) \ noun

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