Definition of allowance in English:



  • 1The amount of something that is permitted, especially within a set of regulations or for a specified purpose:

    ‘your baggage allowance’
    • ‘I do have a lens that big, but with airline baggage allowances to contend with, I had decided to leave it at home.’
    • ‘Consequently, the ability of pregnant sows in stalls to get up and lie down could be improved by increasing the space allowance within the stall.’
    • ‘She travels with her baggage allowance of 70 pounds.’
    • ‘Baggage allowance is 64 kg in two bags, with one small carry-on bag allowed.’
    • ‘Thanks to a food-rationing programme that began in the late 1990s, almost all families receive a monthly allowance of rice, cooking oil, salt, sugar and other basics.’
    • ‘So your submission was directed at the specificity of a percentile discount rather than the entitlement of some allowance in the reduction of the punitive sentence?’
    • ‘The system is supposed to force companies that exceed their national emission allocations to buy extra allowances from more efficient companies or face fines.’
    • ‘Earlier that day, Pops had revealed that the big man had guzzled eighteen RC Colas, the maximum weekly allowance, within a few hours.’
    • ‘In attempting to prise control away from the previous power brokers for four years, the owner of the chain of convenience stores used up his allowance of good publicity.’
    • ‘As a result, time allowance for writing is ensured, which contributes to reduction of software processing load by an external device.’
    • ‘Of course on checking in my friend was told that he had excess baggage; the allowance was 27 Kilos and he had 37 Kilos - did he not check his ticket?’
    • ‘The Weight Watchers diet gives slimmers a point system for food and drink, allowing them to eat what they like as long as it is within their daily allowance.’
    • ‘For instance, a fine of €100 will be imposed on each of the next 10 drinks in excess of the weekly allowance.’
    • ‘Space allowances should permit natural movement and exercise, and the environment should allow animals to perform instinctive behaviours, such as rooting by pigs.’
    • ‘Since they were competing in all the matches at Winter Range, they had shipped their clothing so they could use all their baggage allowance for gun cases.’
    • ‘Seat dimensions should be explored considering passenger health, size, and allowance for seat-space reductions when the seat in front is reclined.’
    • ‘This or the reduction in handicap allowance may have had something to do with the winning scores this year being not so good as last year's 105 points.’
    • ‘Stitch again within the seam allowances, or serge or zigzag the raw edges.’
    • ‘Due to settlement concerns, foundation load tests were run to ensure that final geometries were within the specified allowance.’
    • ‘Although companies will be given allowances based on their energy consumption, the emission permits will have a financial value and will have to be treated as a balance sheet item.’
    permitted amount, permitted quantity, allocation, allotment, quota, share, ration, grant, limit, portion, helping, slice, lot
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    1. 1.1British An amount of money that can be earned or received free of tax:
      ‘a personal allowance’
      • ‘Personal allowances and thresholds will probably be indexed, sucking more people into higher-rate tax as wages rise faster than prices.’
      • ‘The only concession is that they are entitled to keep their personal allowance.’
      • ‘Higher personal allowances are given to people aged 65 and over and 75 and over.’
      • ‘Can you tell me when a person aged 75 is given an extra allowance for tax purposes?’
      • ‘The wives have got some income to mop up personal allowances and lower tax rates, instead of the income all being taxed on Fred and Jim at 40%.’
      • ‘But those claimed benefits would materialise only if the tax rate were set low enough and personal allowances set high enough.’
      • ‘Given the very small increases in personal allowances, will most people in Scotland end up paying more or less tax?’
      • ‘Simplifying income tax is an idea with wide appeal, and by abolishing special reliefs you could raise personal allowances sharply, taking low incomes out of tax altogether.’
      • ‘The huge amounts that this would bring in would allow the personal allowance to be raised by a couple of thousand, helping those on low and medium incomes.’
      • ‘Everyone is entitled to a personal allowance - the amount you can earn before tax is due - from the day they are born.’
      • ‘Tax individualisation means that we both have separate tax free allowances (now called tax credits) and separate income rate bands.’
      • ‘Apart from a personal allowance, all other exemptions are abolished.’
      • ‘Although everyone would benefit from an increase in personal allowances, it would lift 10 million out of income tax altogether.’
      • ‘Children all have their own personal allowances, which mean they can earn £4,385 a year before paying any tax.’
      • ‘Duty free allowances are to increase from £140 per person to £1,000.’
      • ‘For individuals, the flat rate tax is levied on all wages, salaries or pensions, less a personal allowance.’
      • ‘It is not, for example, going to point out that you could top up your pension to take advantage of the tax breaks, or transfer some savings into your spouse's name to soak up their personal allowance.’
      • ‘Everyone has a personal allowance for income tax of £4,895 but if you are working or drawing a pension you are likely to have already used this up.’
      • ‘Personal allowances rise in line with inflation not earnings, so 3.6 million people will pay 40% tax from April.’
      • ‘As long as the total amount of interest falls within the allowance, then no tax will be payable.’
      concession, reduction, decrease, deduction, discount, weighting, rebate, refund, repayment
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    2. 1.2Horse Racing A deduction in the weight that a horse is required to carry in a race.
      • ‘He is winless in seven starts since a pair of victories, a maiden special weight race and an allowance race, in February at Gulfstream Park.’
      • ‘She then suffered a bout with colic and did not race until returning in a seven-furlong allowance at Saratoga Race Course on August 23, which she won by six lengths.’
      • ‘In her outing prior to the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, she finished fourth in an allowance / optional claiming race at Laurel.’
      • ‘To help young jockeys get a foothold in the sport, those under 26 can claim a weight allowance in certain races (they are known as apprentice jockeys).’
      • ‘Kiss a Native won the Victoria Park Stakes and an allowance at Woodbine Race Course in his last two starts.’
  • 2A sum of money paid regularly to a person to meet needs or expenses:

    ‘the elderly receive a heating allowance every winter’
    • ‘They were making small fortunes through allowances and overtime pay.’
    • ‘It is likely that the IRS may find issues of concern in the area of taxable fringe benefits, particularly automobile allowances and relocation expenses.’
    • ‘Because any unused portion of a housing allowance is lost, an employee has no incentive to try to bid down the cost of their accommodation.’
    • ‘City of York Council members receive a basic allowance together with payments which reflect the special responsibilities of the individual member.’
    • ‘Lay magistrates are not paid for carrying out their duties, but may claim allowances, within specified limits, for travelling, subsistence and financial loss.’
    • ‘This money is not part of their base pay - it is an allowance for a specific purpose.’
    • ‘Her salary and benefits, excluding expense allowance, were $502,000.’
    • ‘Entitlements range from parliamentary salaries down to a variety of allowances like the printing allowance.’
    • ‘Volunteers can claim expenses such as mileage or bus fares, and anyone who works a five-hour stint receives a lunch allowance.’
    • ‘Councillors are our direct conduits to the corridors of power in Bradford and district, and we should make every effort to use them to our advantage and to make them earn their allowances.’
    • ‘The daily allowance for meals and travel within five miles of Westminster will rise from £64 to £75.’
    • ‘The review panel also wants mobile phone call allowances to be limited to £5 per month.’
    • ‘Opposition parties yesterday hit out at the Government's decision to limit the back-to-work allowance to those who have been unemployed for five years.’
    • ‘Councillors there were paid higher than permitted allowances.’
    • ‘They will be given £10 weekly living allowances, and free full board accommodation for a maximum of three months, while the Government helps them to find jobs.’
    • ‘However, StudyLink requires full-time students to complete their courses within 19 weeks to qualify for a student allowance.’
    • ‘Singh said travel allowance, book grants and other allowances were also increased and a three per cent regional allowance was added.’
    • ‘My husband gives me an allowance for my own expenses.’
    • ‘Then figure out which items you will continue to be responsible for and which expenses you want the allowance to cover.’
    • ‘I have also noted that North Yorkshire councillors are about to pay themselves large allowances plus amounts for child care and dependents.’
    payment, pocket money, sum of money, remittance, contribution, consideration, handout, grant, subsidy, maintenance, financial support, subsistence, benefit, stipend, pension, annuity, keep, upkeep, expenses
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    1. 2.1North American A small amount of money given regularly to a child by its parents.
      • ‘Ally, I was pretty sure, spent most of her money on clothes and other pointless things, though she got a monthly allowance from her parents.’
      • ‘My parents taught me to save the coins of my allowance.’
      • ‘Sue, who lives in Fallowfield, receives a student loan and an allowance from her parents, who also pay for her accommodation.’
      • ‘So if your parents ever offer you an allowance of a penny on the first of the month, two pennies on the second, four pennies on the third, and so on, you should definitely take them up on it!’
      • ‘Jack didn't necessarily want all of that, but he wasn't going to turn down the money his parents gave him in allowance before they ran off to some other meeting or spa.’
      • ‘For example, parents use allowances or dessert to encourage their children to make their beds or eat their dinners.’
      • ‘Neither school will say exactly how much it is paying, but you can bet the price is lower than a 12-year-old's allowance.’
      • ‘Regardless of how much you give, it's a good idea to regularly disperse the allowance and increase the amount as the child gets older.’
      • ‘That magic that made me save my allowance to buy action figures or role-play as Han Solo on the playground isn't there.’
      • ‘In a surprising reversal of roles, a third of the children even give their parents a regular allowance!’
      • ‘Since back to school time is rapidly approaching, here are answers to the four most common questions we get from parents about allowances.’
      • ‘To develop a workable budget with your child, have her divide the total amount of the allowance into three categories: spending, savings, and giving.’
      • ‘It's as if you are a teenager cussing out your parents before demanding your allowance and the keys to the car.’
      • ‘She threatened me that if I don't eat my lunch, I won't get any allowance from my parents.’
      • ‘And in turn, her parents gave her an ultimatum: no extra allowances, and no extra money from them.’
      • ‘My parents started giving me an allowance, and they said that if I were to go out to the movies or buy Ana anything, I would have to start working for the money.’
      • ‘His parents give him an allowance for anything that he may need, but he says that he does not need all that much.’
      • ‘Parents would transfer allowance money to their child's credit card.’
      • ‘My parents don't really give us an allowance, but they let us have however much we want as long as we promise to pay them back.’
  • 3archaic [mass noun] Tolerance:

    ‘the allowance of slavery in the South’
    • ‘But at least when I looked I couldn't find any allowance for the vastly greater economic value of the accretion of knowhow that is each generation's free gift to the next.’
    • ‘A planning application is invalid if there is no site notice, if it is not in place for five weeks or if it is not clearly legible from the public road, with some allowance for deliberate vandalising or removal of notices.’
    • ‘There needs to be a balance between control and the allowance of some flexibility within the market.’
    • ‘Henceforth such a monopolist must charge the same price (with due allowance for cost differences).’
    • ‘There needs to be systemic allowance for the fact that getting regulated prices ‘right’ is very hard.’


[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Give (someone) a sum of money as an allowance:

    ‘I have made up my mind to allowance him’
    • ‘She spoke of getting travel allowanced but this depended on the social worker who had been assigned and they are not allowed leave their accommodation for more than three days.’
    • ‘The Contract Management System calculates reimbursement for managed care contracts and then calculates whether the payers paid correctly and whether the allowancing is correct.’
    • ‘You can go over your allowanced amounts, but you are expected to pay these overages directly to the supplier.’


Late Middle English: from Old French alouance, from alouer (see allow).