v. al·lowed, al·low·ing, al·lows
1. To let do or happen; permit: We allow smoking only in restricted areas.
2. To permit the presence of: No pets are allowed inside.
3. To permit to have: allow oneself a little treat.
4. To make provision for; assign: The schedule allows time for a coffee break.
5. To plan for in case of need: allow two inches in the fabric for shrinkage.
6. To grant as a discount or in exchange: allowed me 20 dollars on my old typewriter.
7. Chiefly Southern & Midland US
a. To admit; concede: I allowed he was right.
b. To think; suppose: "We allow he's straight" (American Speech).
c. To assert; declare: Mother allowed that we'd better come in for dinner.
1. To offer a possibility; admit: The poem allows of several interpretations.
2. To take a possibility into account; make allowance: In calculating profit, retailers must allow for breakage and spoilage.
[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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.