[ uh-lejd, uh-lej-id ]
/ əˈlɛdʒd, əˈlɛdʒ ɪd /
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declared or stated to be as described; asserted: The alleged murderer could not be located for questioning.
doubtful; suspect; supposed: The alleged cure-all produced no results when it was tested by reputable doctors.
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Origin of alleged

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at allege, -ed2


un·al·leged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does alleged mean?

Alleged is an adjective that’s used to describe things that have been claimed. It’s most often used to describe an action or situation, especially a wrongdoing or crime, that someone claims happened but that has not been confirmed or proven.

Alleged can also be used as the past tense of the verb allege, meaning to claim without proof or before proof is available. Such an accusation is called an allegation. The adverb form of alleged is allegedly.

As an adjective, alleged can be correctly pronounced either uh-LEJD or uh-LEJ-id. When it’s used as a verb, it’s always pronounced uh-LEJD.

Alleged is most commonly used in a legal context and in journalism in reports about crime or other wrongdoing before it has been proven or before someone has been convicted. Using the word alleged allows journalists to talk about allegations without seeming to presume guilt (and getting sued for libel).

Sometimes, alleged is used to mean doubtful or supposed in a way that’s intended to indicate skepticism about something, as in The alleged genius can’t even run a small company.   

Example: The alleged crime took place when my client was half a state away.

Where does alleged come from?

The first records of the word alleged come from the 1400s. Its base word, allege, is recorded around 1300 and ultimately comes from the Latin verb allēgāre, meaning “to dispatch on a mission” or “bring forward as evidence.” The leg part of allege and alleged comes from the root lēx-, which means “law” and forms the basis of words like legal.

Alleged is almost always used in a legal context. It’s typically used when making an accusation that has yet to be proved in a court of law. In many jurisdictions, the law states that a person is innocent until proven guilty. That means that if someone is accused of committing a crime—even if the whole thing was caught on video—they’re not considered guilty until they’re convicted by a jury. Until that happens, journalists use the word alleged to qualify descriptions about the supposed crime.

It’s often applied to actions or events, as in the alleged burglary or the alleged incident. It can also be applied to a person, as in the alleged burglar.

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What are some other forms related to alleged?

What are some synonyms for alleged?

What are some words that share a root or word element with alleged

What are some words that often get used in discussing alleged?

How is alleged used in real life?

Alleged is most commonly used in journalism in reports about crimes.



Try using alleged!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to refer to something described as alleged

A. purported
B. definite
C. possible
D. claimed

How to use alleged in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alleged

/ (əˈlɛdʒd) /

adjective (prenominal)
stated or described to be such; presumedthe alleged murderer
dubiousan alleged miracle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012