Meaning of “allowance” in the English Dictionary

"allowance" in British English

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uk /əˈlaʊ.əns/ us /əˈlaʊ.əns/

allowance noun (AMOUNT GIVEN)

C1 [ C ] money that you are given regularly, especially to pay for a particular thing:

The perks of the job include a company pension and a generous travel allowance.
I couldn't have managed at college if I hadn't had an allowance from my parents.

[ C ] an amount of something that you are allowed:

The baggage/luggage allowance for most flights is 20 kilos.

[ C ] mainly US UK usually pocket money an amount of money that parents regularly give to their child to spend as they choose

More examples

  • Gary's been exploiting the system, getting both a student allowance and unemployment benefit.
  • A family man's earnings rose 5% in real terms after deducting income tax, insurance, child allowances, etc.
  • Paul has to use his car a lot in his new job but he gets a good mileage allowance.
  • He gets a small allowance from his father - just enough to live on until he starts to earn money.
  • The basic calorie allowance is 2000 calories a day for women and 2500 for men.

(Definition of “allowance” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"allowance" in American English

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allowancenoun [ C ]

us /əˈlɑʊ·əns/

the amount of something available or needed for a particular purpose:

What is the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A?

An allowance is also money given by parents to a child every week that the child can spend.

(Definition of “allowance” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"allowance" in Business English

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allowancenoun [ C ]

uk /əˈlaʊəns/ us

money that someone is given regularly by their employer or by the government to pay for a particular thing:

an allowance for sth/to do sth Some companies will even give their telecommuting executives an allowance to buy office furniture for their home.
Employees relocating to London receive a maximum allowance of £1000 a year.

an amount of something that someone is allowed to have, use, produce, etc.:

baggage/luggage allowance Baggage allowance is 2 free bags per passenger, and $80 per additional bag.
In Europe nearly all of the valuable emission allowances - permits that each allow one ton of emissions - were given away to power companies.

TAX an amount of goods that you are allowed to buy and take into another country before you have to start paying tax:

The Australian Customs Service will not charge you duty or tax on goods you bring in if they are within the duty-free allowance guidelines.

mainly UK TAX an amount of money that can be taken off your income before the tax owed is calculated:

a tax allowance
a personal/married couple's/single person's allowance
an annual allowance

ACCOUNTING, TAX an amount of money that can be taken off a company's profits before the tax owed is calculated:

The purchaser of assets can claim allowances on certain items such as plant and machinery.

the fact of planning or paying now for a possible future change in a situation or a possible future cost, or the amount that is planned for:

make an allowance for sth It is unlikely that the regulator will make any allowance for falls in customer service caused by a strike.
They made a 10% allowance for bad debt.
The company will extend existing health-plan contracts and their pricing for eight years, with allowances for inflation.

COMMERCE a special arrangement, such as a lower price, that manufacturers offer to stores which are going to sell their products:

When selling a new product, manufacturers sometimes give retailers an allowance, for example a sale or return agreement.

(Definition of “allowance” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)