[ uh-lou ]
See synonyms for: allowallowedallowingallows on

verb (used with object)
  1. to give permission to or for; permit: to allow a student to be absent;No swimming allowed.

  2. to let have; give as one's share; grant as one's right: to allow a person $100 for expenses.

  1. to permit by neglect, oversight, or the like: to allow a door to remain open.

  2. to admit; acknowledge; concede: to allow a claim.

  3. to take into consideration, as by adding or subtracting; set apart: to allow an hour for changing trains.

  4. Older Use. to say; think.

  5. Archaic. to approve; sanction.

verb (used without object)
  1. to permit something to happen or to exist; admit (often followed by of): to spend more than one's budget allows;a premise that allows of only one conclusion.

Idioms about allow

  1. allow for, to make concession or provision for: to allow for breakage.

Origin of allow

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English alowen, from Anglo-French al(l)o(u)er “to place, allot, allow,” Old French aloer “to place,” from Late Latin allocāre; see al-, locus; the older sense “approve, sanction” and Middle English sense “praise” probably by taking the Anglo-French verb as representing Medieval Latin, Latin adlaudāre “to praise”; see ad-, laud

Opposites for allow

Other words from allow

  • pre·al·low, verb (used with object)

Words Nearby allow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use allow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for allow


/ (əˈlaʊ) /

  1. (tr) to permit (to do something); let

  2. (tr) to set aside: five hours were allowed to do the job

  1. (tr) to let enter or stay: they don't allow dogs

  2. (tr) to acknowledge or concede (a point, claim, etc)

  3. (tr) to let have; grant: he was allowed few visitors

  4. (intr foll by for) to take into account: allow for delays

  5. (intr often foll by of) to permit; admit: a question that allows of only one reply

  6. (tr; may take a clause as object) US dialect to assert; maintain

  7. (tr) archaic to approve; accept

Origin of allow

C14: from Old French alouer, from Late Latin allaudāre to extol, influenced by Medieval Latin allocāre to assign, allocate

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