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 Esper has authorized the movement of several active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation's capital, but they have not been called to action. Anchorage Daily News, "Pentagon chief breaks with Trump, says he does not support use of active-duty military to quell unrest," 3 June 2020 The board has authorized billions in spending on stock buybacks over the last five years while the average Walmart worker still lived at the poverty line. Lenore Palladino For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Hourly employees should be represented on Walmart's board of directors," 2 June 2020 Bolivia’s government authorized reopening most of the country, and the government of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro unwound restrictions., "South America ignores Europe and reopens as virus peak nears," 1 June 2020 Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops to Athens, Savannah and any other cities where more demonstrations were planned Sunday. Washington Post, "Death of black man in police custody spurs protests across the country," 31 May 2020 Walz authorized the full mobilization of the state’s National Guard ahead of further protests on Saturday, hoping to avoid another riot and the need for more volunteers to help clean up. Fox News, "George Floyd case: Dozens of volunteers descend on Minneapolis to clean up after riots," 30 May 2020 With their phone, the owner can authorize any service or repairs without having to visit the shop. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Infiniti Introduces Digital Purchasing and At-Home Test Drives," 29 May 2020 The bill, obtained by Nature, would authorize $3 billion for an international initiative to contain epidemics at home and abroad, to be overseen by a presidential appointee from the US State Department. Amy Maxmen, Scientific American, "What a US Exit from the WHO Means for COVID-19 and Global Health," 29 May 2020 After holding its annual draft remotely in April, the NFL authorized the reopening of facilities May 19. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "If sports return in 2020, what will they look like in Michigan?," 28 May 2020

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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Last Updated

6 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Authorize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for authorize


How to pronounce authorize (audio)

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 authorization (audio) \ noun

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