al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Definition of allege

transitive verb

1 : to assert without proof or before proving a report alleging that the company deliberately overcharged its customers She is alleged to have stolen more than $50,000 over the course of several years.
2 : to bring forward as a reason or excuse
3 archaic : to adduce or bring forward as a source or authority

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Did you know?

These days, someone "alleges" something before presenting the evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all), but the word actually derives from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning "to submit (something) in evidence or as justification." Alleggen, in turn, traces back to Anglo-French and probably ultimately to Latin allegare, meaning "to send as a representative" or "to offer as proof in support of a plea." Indeed, allege once referred to the actions of someone who came forward to testify in court; this sense isn't used anymore, but it led to the development of the current "assert without proof" sense.

Examples of allege in a Sentence

He alleged that the mayor has accepted bribes. The mayor is alleged to have accepted bribes. You allege that she stole a large quantity of money. Do you have any proof?
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Recent Examples on the Web The original lawsuits allege auditors used uncertified voting equipment and manipulated thousands of ballots in an unspecified statewide race. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 12 Oct. 2021 Authorities allege Bowers, 49, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, perpetrated the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Fox News, 12 Oct. 2021 Police allege Mire then stole a blue 2013 Chevrolet Silverado from that neighborhood. Christine Pelisek,, 11 Oct. 2021 The groups allege the EPA, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and other agencies have consistently failed to ensure timely action in responding to the high lead levels. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 7 Oct. 2021 Jussie Smollett, who faces felony disorderly conduct charges over what prosecutors allege was staging an attack in 2019 while in Chicago, is headed to trial, as Chicago’s WTTW reports. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2021 The feds also allege corruption during 2015 franchise contract negotiations between Comcast and the city. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 Prosecutors allege the ring netted more than $1.2 million in jewelry that was then fenced at a Cicero pawnshop owned by Polchan, who also helped authorize the robberies, prosecutors said. Jason Meisner,, 6 Oct. 2021 Court documents point to @sj_takeovers on Instagram, and allege the man behind the account had already been cited a number of times for crimes related to sideshow activity. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for allege

Middle English alleggen to submit in evidence or as justification, adduce, from Anglo-French aleger, allegger, probably in part modification of Medieval Latin allegare, from Latin, to send as a representative, adduce in support of a plea (from ad- + legare to depute), in part from Anglo-French aleger to lighten, free, exculpate, from Late Latin alleviare to relieve — more at legate, alleviate

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

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allege.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for allege



English Language Learners Definition of allege

: to state without definite proof that someone has done something wrong or illegal


al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Kids Definition of allege

: to state as fact but without proof


transitive verb
al·​lege | \ ə-ˈlej How to pronounce allege (audio) \
alleged; alleging

Legal Definition of allege

1 : to state without proof or before proving
2 : to state (as a fact) in a pleading : aver

History and Etymology for allege

Old French alegier to alleviate, free, confused with Old French alleguer to allege, from Medieval Latin allegare — see allegata

More from Merriam-Webster on allege

Nglish: Translation of allege for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allege for Arabic Speakers


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