Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To let do or happen; permit: We allow smoking only in restricted areas.
  • transitive v. To permit the presence of: No pets are allowed inside.
  • transitive v. To permit to have: allow oneself a little treat.
  • transitive v. To make provision for; assign: The schedule allows time for a coffee break.
  • transitive v. To plan for in case of need: allow two inches in the fabric for shrinkage.
  • transitive v. To grant as a discount or in exchange: allowed me 20 dollars on my old typewriter.
  • transitive v. Chiefly Southern & Midland U.S. To admit; concede: I allowed he was right.
  • transitive v. Chiefly Southern & Midland U.S. To think; suppose: "We allow he's straight” ( American Speech).
  • transitive v. Chiefly Southern & Midland U.S. To assert; declare: Mother allowed that we'd better come in for dinner.
  • intransitive v. To offer a possibility; admit: The poem allows of several interpretations.
  • intransitive v. To take a possibility into account; make allowance: In calculating profit, retailers must allow for breakage and spoilage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To grant, give, admit, accord, afford, or yield; to let one have.
  • v. To acknowledge; to accept as true; to concede; to accede to an opinion.
  • v. To grant (something) as a deduction or an addition; especially to abate or deduct;
  • v. To grant license to; to permit; to consent to.
  • v. To not bar or obstruct.
  • v. To acknowledge or concede.
  • v. To take into account by making an allowance.
  • v. To render physically possible

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To admit; to concede; to make allowance or abatement.
  • transitive v. To praise; to approve of; hence, to sanction.
  • transitive v. To like; to be suited or pleased with.
  • transitive v. To sanction; to invest; to intrust.
  • transitive v. To grant, give, admit, accord, afford, or yield; to let one have
  • transitive v. To own or acknowledge; to accept as true; to concede; to accede to an opinion
  • transitive v. To grant (something) as a deduction or an addition; esp. to abate or deduct.
  • transitive v. To grant license to; to permit; to consent to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To grant, give, or yield; assign; afford: as, to allow a free passage.
  • To admit; concede; confess; own; acknowledge: as, to allow the right of private judgment; he allowed that he was wrong; he allowed it might be so.
  • To abate or deduct; take into account; set apart: as, to allow so much for loss; to allow a sum for tare or leakage.
  • To grant permission to; permit: as, to allow a son to be absent.
  • To grant special license or indulgence to.
  • To invest; intrust.
  • To assert, declare, say; or, of mental assertion, to mean, purpose, intend, or, simply, think: the concessive sense presented assertively.
  • Synonyms Allow, Permit, Consent to, Sanction, Suffer, Tolerate. Allow and permit are often used synonymously; but permit strictly denotes a formal or implied assent; allow, the absence of an intent, or even only of an attempt, to hinder.
  • Consent to is formally to permit that which one has the power and generally some disposition to prevent; it implies the assumption of responsibility for that which is thus allowed. Sanction has a secondary sense of permitting with expressed or implied approbation: as, I cannot sanction such a course.
  • Suffer is still more passive or reluctant than allow, and may imply that one does not prevent something, though it is contrary to one's feelings, judgment, or sense of right. To tolerate is to bear with something unpleasant: as, I would not tolerate such impertinence. Many things are tolerated, or suffered, or even allowed, that are not permitted, and many are permitted that are not really consented to, much less sanctioned.
  • To make abatement, concession, or provision: followed by for: as, to allow for the tare.
  • To permit; admit: with of: as, “of this allow,”
  • To praise or commend; approve, justify, or sanction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. give or assign a resource to a particular person or cause
  • v. allow the presence of or allow (an activity) without opposing or prohibiting
  • v. allow or plan for a certain possibility; concede the truth or validity of something
  • v. consent to, give permission
  • v. afford possibility
  • v. make it possible through a specific action or lack of action for something to happen
  • v. let have
  • v. allow the other (baseball) team to score
  • v. grant as a discount or in exchange
  • v. make a possibility or provide opportunity for; permit to be attainable or cause to remain

Etymologies

Middle English allouen, to approve, permit, from Old French alouer, from Latin allaudāre, to praise (ad-, intensive pref.; see ad- + laudāre, to praise; see laud) and from Medieval Latin allocāre, to assign; see allocate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English allouen, from Old French alouer , from Medieval Latin allaudāre, present active infinitive of allaudō, merged with alouer, from Medieval Latin allocō ("to assign"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • The extra money allowed us to stay abroad another day.

    March 30, 2007