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 Federal regulators could soon authorize the first antiviral pill for covid-19. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 15 Oct. 2021 Federal regulators could soon authorize the first antiviral pill for Covid-19. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 Congress should also authorize the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, a national green bank, to start pilot programs in low- to moderate-income communities. Mark Wolfe For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 However, the agency did not authorize booster shots for the general population, which Pfizer was pursuing, after an advisory committee said there wasn’t enough evidence. Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 The legislation would authorize a 2.7% pay increase for U.S. servicemembers, authorizes $250 million to conduct counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, and boost America’s topline defense budget by 5% over this year’s levels. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 24 Sep. 2021 The bill would authorize $100 million in grants annually for fiscal years 2022 through 2026. Dallas News, 23 Sep. 2021 The ballot initiative written by Native American tribes would authorize sports bets at Native American gaming casinos and at authorized horse-racing tracks in four counties — Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021 Most states explicitly authorize religious exemptions to vaccination, and sometimes philosophical exemptions as well – regardless of the government’s compelling interests. Douglas Laycock, The Conversation, 15 Sep. 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

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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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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