[ uh-lej-id-lee ]
/ əˈlɛdʒ ɪd li /
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according to what is or has been alleged.
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Origin of allegedly

First recorded in 1870–75; alleged + -ly


un·al·leg·ed·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does allegedly mean?

Allegedly means according to what has been claimed. It’s used to describe an action or situation that someone claims happened but that has not been confirmed or proven, especially a crime.

Allegedly is the adverb form of the adjective alleged, which itself comes from the past tense of the verb allege, meaning to claim without proof or before proof is available. Such an accusation is called an allegation.

Allegedly is most commonly used in a legal context, especially in journalism in reports about a person who has been accused of a crime or other wrongdoing but who has not been convicted. Using the word allegedly allows journalists to talk about allegations without seeming to presume guilt (and getting sued for libel).

Example: Mr. Jones allegedly stole from his company over a period of 15 years.

Where does allegedly come gtom?

The first records of the word allegedly come from the 1800s. 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 allegedly comes from the root lēx-, which means “law” and forms the basis of words like legal.

Allegedly 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 allegedly to qualify descriptions about what the person has supposedly done.

It can be used to start a sentence, as in Allegedly, she crashed the award ceremony. It can be used within a sentence immediately preceding the alleged action, as in It was then that she allegedly began dancing on the table, or immediately following it, as in She then grabbed the tablecloth, allegedly, out from under the dishes, which stayed on the table. It can also be used as a kind of a one-word tag after a sentence, as in The dancing was actually very good. Allegedly.

Sometimes, allegedly is used in this way ironically, to humorously imply skepticism about what has been said, as in He’s very honest. Allegedly.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to allegedly?

What are some synonyms for allegedly?

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

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

How is allegedly used in real life?

Allegedly is most commonly used in journalism in reports about crimes. It’s sometimes used in a humorous way that’s supposed to mimic its journalistic use.



Try using allegedly!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe something that allegedly happened?

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

How to use allegedly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for allegedly

/ (əˈlɛdʒɪdlɪ) /

reportedly; supposedlypayments allegedly made to a former colleague
(sentence modifier) it is alleged that
an exclamation expressing disbelief or scepticism

usage for allegedly

In recent years it has become common for speakers to include allegedly in statements that are controversial or possibly even defamatory. The implication is that, by saying allegedly, the speaker is distancing himself or herself from the controversy and even protecting himself or herself from possible prosecution. However, the effect created may be deliberate. The use of allegedly can be a signal that, although the statement may seem outrageous, it is in fact true: He was drunk at work. Allegedly. Conversely, it is also possible to use allegedly as an expression of ironic scepticism: He's a hard worker. Allegedly
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