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 More than 52,000 members voted to authorize a nationwide strike, which would be the first in the union’s 128-year history. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 5 Oct. 2021 Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, one of Hollywood's largest labor unions, have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike that would shut down the majority of film and TV production from coast to coast. Andrea Towers,, 4 Oct. 2021 Hollywood moved closer to a production shutdown on Monday after one of the film and television industry’s lower-profile unions said that members had overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, that union that represents thousands of behind-the-scenes film and television employees, voted overwhelmingly on Monday to authorize a strike for better working conditions and compensation. Dan Reilly, Fortune, 4 Oct. 2021 That threshold was met in all 36 union locals, with none reporting less than 96% voting in favor to authorize a strike, IATSE said. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 4 Oct. 2021 Guild Local 600 recently urged their union members to vote to authorize a strike as well. Marisa Dellatto, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 Israel last week became the first country to authorize booster shots — a third dose of Pfizer — to people over 60. San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2021 However, the country has also had one of the world’s quickest vaccine rollouts and was the first country to authorize the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December. NBC News, 5 July 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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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Authorize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 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
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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