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


accredit, certify, charter [British], 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

Both times, Satz was the one to ask jurors to authorize the execution. Rafael Olmeda,, "Broward prosecutor Mike Satz to call it quits after 44 years," 4 June 2019 Peterson became the first mayor in the country to have the power to authorize charter schools and later served on the board of The Mind Trust, until taking a job running a charter school operator, Christel House International. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King on what Indianapolis gets right about education," 4 June 2019 The Los Angeles company is exploring financing that would shore up its liquidity and ensure founder Do Won Chang maintains control, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Bloomberg,, "Forever 21, struggling with global expansion, explores a debt restructuring," 3 June 2019 An official with the Panamanian tax agency, reached by telephone, said he was not authorized to comment. Ben Protess, New York Times, "A Former Business Partner Alleges the Trumps Evaded Taxes in Panama," 3 June 2019 The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to brief journalists. Ahmed Al-haj, The Seattle Times, "Clashes break out in Yemen’s key port city, killing 8," 25 Mar. 2019 The film—authorized by the family—chronicles his unparalleled career, formative years, and family life. Chris Perkins, Car and Driver, "Ford Confirms It: A Hybrid Bronco Is Coming," 9 May 2019 After a task force’s review, Associated Black Charities was picked to manage the fund and was officially authorized by a five-member spending board controlled by the mayor and included Young in his capacity as City Council president. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Amid scandal, audit into Baltimore nonprofit’s work ordered," 12 Apr. 2019 Enter: Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, a graphic novel version of the original diary, authorized by the Anne Frank Fonds foundation, with proceeds going to charities around the world and to promoting Anne Frank’s legacy. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation," 7 Mar. 2019

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

7 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for authorize

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

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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 authorization (audio) \ noun

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