Definition of allow in English:



  • 1Let (someone) have or do something.

    [with object and infinitive] ‘the dissident was allowed to leave the country’
    [with two objects] ‘she was allowed a higher profile’
    • ‘Because we are prepared to allow people to make their own decisions we cannot be sure just quite where those decisions will take them.’
    • ‘This woman was my therapist and had only agreed to accommodate my neediness by allowing me to watch her ride on a Saturday morning during a competition.’
    • ‘These state laws grant permits allowing practically any citizen without a criminal record to carry a concealed weapon in public.’
    • ‘Susanna only had her learner's permit and wasn't allowed to drive without her parents.’
    • ‘The plan is to allow workers to divert some percentage of their payroll taxes into private accounts.’
    • ‘We have three of the greatest kids there are, simply because some other people were prepared to allow us to adopt those children.’
    • ‘Before we do so, we are prepared to allow you 28 days in which to investigate the position and respond accordingly.’
    • ‘He respected my family name and permitted me to do things that he clearly did not allow others to do.’
    • ‘So I figure that, if I carry on in that way, I should be allowed to continue to make records, providing the industry allows me to.’
    • ‘The council's Community Plan allows residents to get involved to help them draw up policies to shape the future of the borough.’
    • ‘Adam reckons I'm not allowed to eat in bed when I move in with him, but we'll see about that.’
    • ‘At the rate O'Reilly is going, he'll be the only person allowed to speak in a couple of years.’
    • ‘However, programmes are not allowed to accept cash or gifts in kind in return for using products.’
    • ‘Imam said his team would prepare regulations allowing family members to help the visually impaired exercise their political rights.’
    • ‘United Utilities says the permits will allow it to make use of water which would otherwise flow into the River Eamont and River Leven.’
    • ‘Faced with these figures, it beggars belief that the Government is prepared to allow people to drink around the clock.’
    • ‘They enter South Africa on three-month renewable permits which do not allow them to seek jobs.’
    • ‘The public is allowed to watch the proceedings, but no questions are permitted.’
    • ‘He is the only one allowed to wear that color but the elders are permitted to wear deep blue clothing.’
    • ‘Some residents of Kirkby Lonsdale have been issued with permits allowing not only themselves but also their visitors to park free for an indefinite time.’
    permit, let, authorize, give someone permission to, give authorization to, give leave to, sanction, grant, grant someone the right, license, empower, enable, entitle, qualify
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial of direction]Let (someone) enter a place or go in a particular direction.
      ‘the river was patrolled and few people were allowed across’
      • ‘If France has a problem with its birth rate, couldn't it just allow more people to immigrate?’
      • ‘The Salford sailor was issued with a identity card that allowed him to freely enter and leave ports and docks.’
      • ‘Katelina pushed her key through the lock, turned it, and shoved the door aside, allowing herself entrance into her house.’
      • ‘We have no business allowing 65,000 people to come in from abroad and take their place.’
      • ‘There are a few people that she allows into her world, including myself.’
      • ‘Vehicles without such a facility permit will not be allowed into the ranks.’
      • ‘This time no one said anything to me, and I was allowed to enter with no questions asked.’
      • ‘Mayor Ray Nagin has invited business owners back into the city, and prepared to allow residents to return.’
      • ‘Jabin whispered to him, and the man stepped aside, allowing his rather large group in.’
      • ‘The manager was extremely accommodating, allowing us to roll right up to our table for 10.’
      • ‘However, where farmers were prepared to allow hill walkers to use their lands they should receive a payment for that.’
      • ‘David has some interesting things to say about the game, and the morally dubious world it allows you to enter.’
      • ‘Thank you for allowing us to enter the throne room of God with our imperfections and doubts.’
      • ‘Stray cats allowed inside will not be permitted to jump up on or sharpen their claws on the furniture.’
      • ‘The werewolf then lowered his pistol and stepped aside, allowing the duo to step into the bank.’
      • ‘St Lucian immigration authorities allowed him to enter the country for a five-day stay.’
      • ‘Only a special permit allows trucks above that weight to pass through.’
      • ‘The council operates a permit scheme to allow vehicles to cross the promenade - at a price.’
      • ‘Legal powers agreed in 1990 allow officers to enter properties and turn off alarms if the owner fails to do so.’
      • ‘Possibly the best part about it is that the doorman only allows enough people in so that the place feels exciting, not packed.’
    2. 1.2Declare or decide that (an event or activity) is legal or acceptable.
      ‘political advertising on television is not allowed’
      • ‘Only one opposition party was allowed to contest the elections; the others called for a boycott of the elections.’
      • ‘Earlier this month the Federal Justice Minister decided to allow the extradition process to begin.’
      • ‘The claim takes in farms, rivers and national parks but allows commercial activity to continue.’
      • ‘This created greater economic freedom, as some small-scale private economic activity was allowed.’
      • ‘Wenger allows no events other than football to take place on the tight little pitch, where the fans are almost close enough to the players to touch them.’
      • ‘He said members have a plan that will allow churchyard burials to continue ‘for years to come’.’
      • ‘Most of all thanks must go to Mary (the licensee) who allowed this event to be possible.’
      • ‘No commercial announcements or non Church related activities are allowed as they are prohibited by law.’
      • ‘At the meeting on Tuesday, a number of detailed conditions were agreed to ensure it is clear what type of activities are allowed in the gardens.’
      • ‘They approved the initial event stipulating that if it was successful, they would reconsider allowing a second event to take place the following month.’
      • ‘The government has already changed its World Heritage management plan, allowing the developments in the south-west national park.’
      • ‘Member John Blackie is pushing for changes in the Local Plan to allow barn conversions for local housing.’
      • ‘The established socialized enterprises were allowed to contract work in the developing private sphere.’
      • ‘The organisers of this year's Wiltshire Festival have signed on the dotted line to allow the huge event to take place.’
      • ‘The Government has decided not to allow cultural events in the evenings in Lalbagh.’
      • ‘In 1994, Mitofsky says, he persuaded South Africa's election authorities from allowing exit polls.’
      • ‘Last month, a referendum in Egypt approved constitutional changes allowing competitive elections for the presidency.’
      • ‘Yu credits his network of creative friends that allowed this event to take place as an example of how we can get involved.’
      • ‘The narrow interior roads could be clogged with increasing traffic if commercial activities are allowed.’
      • ‘Swindon Council's planning committee will decide whether to allow the project to go ahead.’
  • 2Give the necessary time or opportunity for.

    ‘they agreed to a ceasefire to allow talks with the government’
    [with object and infinitive] ‘he stopped to allow his eyes to adjust’
    • ‘An online profile allows someone to get more than a skin-deep glimpse of you.’
    • ‘The good weather we've experienced over the past two days allowed us to fully prepare the cars for the forthcoming European races.’
    • ‘The engine analyzer allowed me to prepare for the worst, and almost certainly saved our lives.’
    • ‘Preparing beans at home allows you to control both their sodium and nutrient contents.’
    • ‘Making your own arrangements also allows you to inspect the accommodation before you make a commitment.’
    • ‘What makes ice so slippery, allowing these fun activities?’
    • ‘This drill also allows cavalry men to prepare for battle on foot.’
    • ‘Churchgate will be closed to traffic to allow the event to take place.’
    • ‘Mobile communication technology is allowing more people in poor countries to gain access to voice communications.’
    • ‘In addition to allowing him to travel throughout the city, the job permits him to meet ‘with all kinds of people’.’
    • ‘His trembling hand got the glass close enough to his mouth to allow him a sip.’
    • ‘He said it is essential that these rates are confirmed with the Commission at an early date to allow farmers to plan with certainty.’
    • ‘Receiving the videotape before a hospital stay allows the patient to prepare for the hospital stay and view the videotape at a convenient time.’
    • ‘It has always been clear to me that harmony of the mind and the body prepares us and allows us to be able to take on the challenges that life is going to throw at us every day.’
    • ‘Chef Stefan did say that he uses very little condiments in the preparation, allowing the guests to add to their own taste.’
    • ‘At 30 minutes, it's the right amount of time and the twists and turns of the journey allow me to prepare myself for my day.’
    • ‘It is this reliance on a shallow soil profile that allows us to grow trees in such shallow pots in the first place.’
    • ‘Its open plan layout allows patrons to watch their meals being prepared.’
    • ‘This type of soil will permit good drainage while allowing sufficient water retention.’
    • ‘The international scope of the Internet allows dissident actors to network themselves at a transnational scale.’
    1. 2.1[no object]Make provision or provide scope for.
      ‘the house was demolished to allow for road widening’
      • ‘Even allowing for his inevitable bias, to figure that 17 decisions went against his team suggests something serious was amiss.’
      • ‘He said that it might be possible to amend the Coroner's Act to allow for such a provision to be made.’
      • ‘The scheme allows for narrowing the entry and provides for four small bays, two of which will contain a park bench seat.’
      • ‘Its most notable provision allowed for the sale of contraceptives to anyone aged over 18.’
      • ‘Officials say the defences will allow for a predicted rise in sea level and be built to blend in with the townscape.’
      • ‘I cannot see anywhere in the legislation a provision that will allow for the removal of those people.’
      • ‘Full membership also allows for discounted fishing throughout the season.’
      • ‘This allows for plot twists and epic scope undreamt of in the 90-minute Hollywood story arc.’
      • ‘It's not a programmed flight pattern so much as a road map that allows for diversions.’
      • ‘Our goal should be to find ways to allow for smoother orderly traffic flow on our roads.’
      • ‘The long road home allowed for a postmortem of the event, and I felt that I should pursue a kind of debriefing with Peter.’
      • ‘In some cases the provision which allows for or requires the thing to be done also prescribes that it must be done personally and not by an agent.’
      • ‘Life expectancy is adjusted to allow for the fact that people live part of their lives in less than full health.’
      • ‘The monitor provides a very good picture as well as allowing for two separate inputs to be used.’
      • ‘Kirkwall's town centre will be closed next week to allow for road resurfacing works.’
      • ‘And, finally, drivers should be aware that they will need to carry cash to allow for toll roads.’
      • ‘If these wider limits are not allowed for, low volume providers are more likely to be ranked misleadingly at the top or bottom of the group.’
      • ‘During the fifties and the sixties more than 100,000 trees were cut down to allow for the enlargement of roads.’
      • ‘The water towers not only provide water but also allow for crop irrigation.’
      • ‘Typically, there will be a provision in the rules allowing for their variation from time to time.’
      provide for, plan for, make plans for, get ready for, cater for, take into consideration, take into account, make provision for, make preparations for, prepare for, accommodate, make allowances for, make concessions for, arrange for
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[no object]Take (something) into consideration when making plans or calculations.
      ‘income rose by 11 per cent allowing for inflation’
      • ‘You need to allow for the physics of the way that metal moves and consider springback.’
      • ‘He identified the problem that the oven hoods were considerably larger than had been allowed for by the designers in their drawings.’
      • ‘Take several cuttings to allow for a percentage of failure and trim the leaves from the lower half of each cutting.’
      • ‘A wrong calculation allowing for too little time will result in an unfinished work.’
      • ‘Allowing for obsolescence in intelligence testing is just as essential as allowing for inflation in economic analysis.’
      • ‘Plan your trip allowing for short breaks and start out fresh by getting enough sleep in the week leading up to your trip.’
      • ‘Even allowing for recent levels of inflation that would still be worth well over £10,000 at today's prices.’
      • ‘Paltry fuel efficiency increases should allow for a few more years of SUV inflation.’
      • ‘Do you know how much you will realistically be able to take out from your pension or invested capital, after allowing for inflation?’
      • ‘This small error is systematic and can either be ignored or allowed for in calculation if the temperature is known.’
      • ‘We can allow for inflation by just excluding it from both sides of the equation.’
      • ‘Overweight and obesity are defined by the Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a way of calculating weight, allowing for height.’
      • ‘House prices fall at the end of every cycle after allowing for inflation.’
      • ‘Even allowing for inflation, the increase is still one-third.’
      • ‘The revised proposal did not allow for the complete demolition of the building.’
      • ‘If they were implementing the planning permission, it would be expected they would have allowed for the windows.’
      • ‘We calculated drug costs after allowing for an 18% rate of non-adherence to treatment.’
      • ‘The deposition flux was then calculated by allowing for the burial efficiency.’
      • ‘A business plan that does not allow for adjustment can end up very far off the mark.’
      • ‘But we must allow for the possibility that the more pessimistic forecasts are right.’
      take into consideration, take into account, bear in mind, keep in mind, not lose sight of, have regard to, provide for, plan for, make plans for, foresee, anticipate, get ready for, cater for, allow for, make provision for, make preparations for, prepare for, accommodate, make concessions for
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Provide or set aside for a particular purpose.
      ‘allow an hour or so for driving’
      • ‘Further questioning revealed that the purpose was to allow flood water to escape more quickly.’
      • ‘The scarf's purpose is to allow the bobbin case hook to get close to the needle eye and catch the thread to form a stitch.’
      • ‘The extra consultant would allow her department to provide a separate clinic for infected haemophiliacs.’
      • ‘So we'll talk to you as the weather permits and as we allow ourselves time to talk on the cell phone.’
      • ‘He argued that he should have been given a record of his speed to allow him to prepare his defence.’
      • ‘The cup of cream for six eggs is there for one purpose only: to allow the recipe to succeed.’
      • ‘However, patients may need a period of ventilation, as this allows adequate oxygenation.’
      • ‘I put the packs aside and allowed myself another two days to think more about it.’
      • ‘There are three questions that must be asked if we are to develop a coherent legal structure that allows a market in lawsuits.’
      • ‘A parent's room is provided to allow them to meet in a friendly atmosphere and this will also be a feature of the new school.’
      • ‘The current application asks six personal-essay questions and allows 400 words for each answer.’
      set aside, allocate, allot, earmark, designate, spare, devote, give, afford, apportion, assign
      View synonyms
  • 3[reporting verb] Admit the truth of; concede.

    [with clause] ‘he allowed that the penalty appeared too harsh for the crime’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘Could happen,’ she allowed indifferently’
    • ‘I hesitated, but allowed that we'd do sort of a trial run for a few months.’
    • ‘The Federal Court has allowed that treatments are patentable.’
    • ‘He should have allowed that the British Empire was made out of empty spaces or, in India, collapsing states.’
    • ‘If a body of expert opinion allows that natural cause cannot be excluded as a reasonable possibility, particular caution is required.’
    • ‘The councillor allowed that the skate park as it stood was not satisfactory.’
    • ‘If you allowed that it went off by reflex action, you would never succeed.’
    • ‘Both counsel for the Crown and her Honour allowed that there was an arguable case.’
    admit, acknowledge, recognize, agree, accept, concede, grant, own, confess, accede
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1North American informal, dialect [with clause]Be of the opinion; assert.
      ‘Lincoln allowed that he himself could never support the man’
      • ‘He allowed that he was going to stay and eat supper with the big old bear.’
      • ‘He allowed that Social Security was ‘the single most successful government program in American history.’’


  • allow me

    • Said when making a polite request or offering help.

      ‘please allow me to introduce myself’
      ‘'Here, allow me,' came a woman's voice from behind him’
      • ‘Hurriedly, she added, "Please allow me to thank you for your service."’
      • ‘Allow me to be among the first to congratulate you on your acceptance.’
      • ‘I am very grateful for those who allow me the honor of being read.’
      • ‘Kindly allow me the courtesy of your columns to convey the following to my Indian brethren.’
      • ‘Thank you for allowing me to share this special time with you.’
      • ‘Allow me, at this point, to introduce my old friend Maria.’
      • ‘They then allow me, a former student pilot, to give it a go.’
      • ‘Thanks to you all for allowing me to a part it.’
      • ‘Thank you for allowing me to print this second chapter in your life.’
      • ‘Allow me to start by confessing that tension between the two young Mrs. Ferrars was the least apparent conflict of this evening.’


Middle English (originally in the senses ‘commend, sanction’ and ‘assign as a right’): from Old French alouer, from Latin allaudare to praise, reinforced by medieval Latin allocare to place (see allocate).