1. Physics. involving a change in quantum numbers, permitted by the selection rules: allowed transition.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give permission to or for; permit: to allow a student to be absent; No swimming allowed.
  2. to let have; give as one’s share; grant as one’s right: to allow a person $100 for expenses.
  3. to permit by neglect, oversight, or the like: to allow a door to remain open.
  4. to admit; acknowledge; concede: to allow a claim.
  5. to take into consideration, as by adding or subtracting; set apart: to allow an hour for changing trains.
  6. Older Use. to say; think.
  7. Archaic. to approve; sanction.

verb (used without object)

  1. 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.

  1. allow for, to make concession or provision for: to allow for breakage.


  1. (tr) to permit (to do something); let
  2. (tr) to set asidefive hours were allowed to do the job
  3. (tr) to let enter or staythey don’t allow dogs
  4. (tr) to acknowledge or concede (a point, claim, etc)
  5. (tr) to let have; granthe was allowed few visitors
  6. (intr foll by for) to take into accountallow for delays
  7. (intr often foll by of) to permit; admita question that allows of only one reply
  8. (tr; may take a clause as object) US dialect to assert; maintain
  9. (tr) archaic to approve; accept

late 14c., “praised;” mid-15c., “assigned as a due share;” late 15c., “permitted,” past participle adjective from allow.


early 14c., allouen, “to commend, praise; approve of, be pleased with; appreciate the value of;” also, “take into account or give credit for,” also, in law and philosophy, “recognize, admit as valid” (a privilege, an excuse, a statement, etc.). From late 14c. as “sanction or permit; condone;” in business use from early 15c.

The Middle English word is from Anglo-French alouer, Old French aloer, alloiier (13c.) “allot, apportion, bestow, assign,” from Latin allocare (see allocate). This word in Old French was confused and ultimately merged with aloer; alloer “to praise, commend,” from Latin allaudare, adlaudare, compound of ad- “to” (see ad-) + laudare “to praise” (see laud). From the first word came the sense preserved in allowance as “money granted;” from the second came its meaning “permission based on approval.”

Between the two primary significations there naturally arose a variety of uses blending them in the general idea of assign with approval, grant, concede a thing claimed or urged, admit a thing offered, permit, etc., etc. [OED].

Related: Allowed; allowing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

49 queries 0.436