Get the details behind our redesign


[uh-lou] /əˈlaʊ/
verb (used with object)
to give permission to or for; permit:
to allow a student to be absent; No swimming allowed.
to let have; give as one's share; grant as one's right:
to allow a person $100 for expenses.
to permit by neglect, oversight, or the like:
to allow a door to remain open.
to admit; acknowledge; concede:
to allow a claim.
to take into consideration, as by adding or subtracting; set apart:
to allow an hour for changing trains.
Older Use. to say; think.
Archaic. to approve; sanction.
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.
allow for, to make concession or provision for:
to allow for breakage.
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 forms
preallow, verb (used with object)
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.
1. forbid, prohibit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for allows
  • If his private business allows him a moment's relaxation, he will plunge at once into the whirlpool of politics.
  • When turning meat, avoid piercing with fork or skewer, which allows the inner juices to escape.
  • Someone who is the apple of your eye, then, is as cherished as the organ that allows you to see.
  • And while the game allows players to use drones, they don't do collateral damage.
  • More clues are coming from lab mice that have a genetic mutation that allows them to partially regrow severed digits.
  • The beauty of the fossil record is that it allows you to travel in time, in one place.
  • Having your own boat at high tide allows you to go much farther.
  • The drink coming out of the fountain is cold to begin with and this allows me for drink for my money.
  • It allows a user to dive into a root article and see related articles based on date and topics.
  • Switching such things on before the driver gets in allows any car to be made comfortable.
British Dictionary definitions for allows


(transitive) to permit (to do something); let
(transitive) to set aside five hours were allowed to do the job
(transitive) to let enter or stay they don't allow dogs
(transitive) to acknowledge or concede (a point, claim, etc)
(transitive) to let have; grant he was allowed few visitors
(intransitive) foll by for. to take into account allow for delays
(intransitive) often foll by of. to permit; admit a question that allows of only one reply
(transitive; may take a clause as object) (US, dialect) to assert; maintain
(transitive) (archaic) to approve; accept
Word Origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for allows
c.1300, from O.Fr. alouer "approve," from L. allaudare, compound of ad- "to" + laudare "to praise," confused and merged in O.Fr. with alouer "assign," from L. allocare (see allocate). From the first word came the sense "permission based on approval," from the second the meaning preserved in allowance.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for allow

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for allows

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with allows