Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: allouer, from Medieval Latin allocare ( ALLOCATE) and from Latin adlaudare, from ad- 'to' + laudare 'to praise'


al‧low S1 W1 [transitive]

can do something

to let someone do or have something, or let something happen [= permit]
allow somebody/something to do something
My parents wouldn't allow me to go to the party.
Women are not allowed to enter the mosque.
Don't allow your problems to dominate your life.
allow somebody something
Passengers are allowed one item of hand luggage each.
How much time are we allowed?
allow somebody in/out/up etc
I don't allow the cat in the bedroom.
The audience is not allowed backstage.
something is (not) allowed (=something is or is not officially permitted)
Are dictionaries allowed in the exam?
We don't allow diving in the pool.

make something possible

to make it possible for something to happen or for someone to do something, especially something helpful or useful [= permit]:
This adjustment of the figures allows a fairer comparison.
allow for
Our new system will allow for more efficient use of resources.
allow somebody to do something
A 24-hour ceasefire allowed the two armies to reach an agreement.
allow somebody something
a seatbelt that allows the driver greater freedom of movement

have enough of something

to be sure that you have enough time, money, food etc available for a particular purpose
allow somebody something
Allow yourselves plenty of time to get to the airport.
allow something for somebody/something
I've allowed half a bottle of wine for each person.


formal to accept that something is correct or true, or that something is acceptable according to the rules or law
allow that
I allow that there may have been a mistake.
The judge allowed the evidence.

allow me

formal used as a polite way of offering to help someone do something:
'Allow me,' the waiter said, opening the door.

allow for somebody/something

phrasal verb
to consider the possible facts, problems, costs etc involved in something when making a plan, calculation, or judgment:
Allowing for inflation, the cost of the project will be $2 million.
You should always allow for the possibility that it might rain.

allow of something

phrasal verb
to make it possible for something to happen or be accepted:
The facts allow of only one interpretation.

Dictionary results for "allow"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.