verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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.

Nearby words

  1. allotropous,
  2. allotropy,
  3. allottee,
  4. allotype,
  5. allover,
  6. allow for,
  7. allowable,
  8. allowable cut,
  9. allowance,
  10. allowance race


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

Origin of allow

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

Related formspre·al·low, verb (used with object)

Synonym study

1. Allow, let, permit imply granting or conceding the right of someone to do something. Allow and permit are often interchangeable, but permit is the more positive. Allow implies complete absence of an attempt, or even an intent, to hinder. Permit suggests formal or implied assent or authorization. Let is the familiar, conversational term for both allow and permit. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for allow

British Dictionary definitions for allow



(tr) to permit (to do something); let
(tr) to set asidefive hours were allowed to do the job
(tr) to let enter or staythey don't allow dogs
(tr) to acknowledge or concede (a point, claim, etc)
(tr) to let have; granthe was allowed few visitors
(intr foll by for) to take into accountallow for delays
(intr often foll by of) to permit; admita question that allows of only one reply
(tr; may take a clause as object) US dialect to assert; maintain
(tr) archaic to approve; accept

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for allow


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper