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

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 On Wednesday the board unanimously voted to authorize the program temporarily for two years, allowing one home kitchen business per residence. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Jan. 2022 In the United States, the federal government has moved more slowly than other countries to authorize rapid antigen tests for everyday use. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 The former would authorize a federal takeover of elections; the latter would supersede a Supreme Court ruling that gives states greater freedom to change election laws. Karl Rove, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 Gambling legislation to authorize a state lottery and several casinos is expected to be introduced in the Alabama Senate by Sen. Greg Albritton, a Republican from Atmore. al, 11 Jan. 2022 And just like with vaccines, the FDA has to authorize, then the CDC makes recommendations about their use. NBC News, 9 Jan. 2022 At issue is whether existing health and safety authority given to federal agencies by Congress is broad enough to cover the pandemic or whether Congress needs to step in and explicitly authorize the agencies' actions. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 7 Jan. 2022 But in the opinion, Yost said the new law’s effect is relatively limited and wouldn’t override other state laws that specifically authorize LaRose and other elections officials to provide information to the public about voting practices. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 5 Jan. 2022 The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly poised to authorize a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 12-15 as early as Monday, according to the New York Times. Editors, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022

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

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Authorize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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
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

More from Merriam-Webster on authorize

Nglish: Translation of authorize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of authorize for Arabic Speakers


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