late 14c., "praise" (a sense now obsolete), from O.Fr. alouance
, from alouer
). Sense of "a sum alloted to meet expenses" is from mid-15c. In accounts, meaning "a sum placed to one's credit" is attested from 1520s. To make allowances
is lit. to add or deduct a sum from someone's account for some special circumstance. Figurative use of the phrase is attested from 1670s.