Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “allow”

allow

verb (GIVE PERMISSION)    /əˈlaʊ/
B1 [T] to give permission for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening : [+ to infinitive] Do you think Dad will allow you to go to Jamie's party ? You're not allowed to talk during the exam . Her proposals would allow (= make it possible for) more people to stay in full-time education . The loophole has allowed hundreds of drink-drivers to avoid prosecution . The government has refused to allow foreign journalists into the area for several weeks . Prisoners have been moved to allow the demolition of part of the prison . Pets aren't allowed in this hotel . [+ -ing verb] Smok ing is not allowed in this restaurant . [+ two objects] He didn't allow us enough time to finish the test . Red Cross officials were allowed access to the prison for the first time a few days ago.UK The referee decided to allow (= officially accept ) the goal . At the weekend I allow myself (= I give myself the special pleasure of having) a box of chocolates . How much time do you allow yourself (= make available to yourself) to get ready in the morning ?Allowing and permitting allow me old-fashioned a polite expression used when offering to help in some way: You can't carry all those bags yourself - please , allow me.Polite expressions Grammar:Allow, permit or let?Allow, permit and let are verbs that all have a similar meaning: ‘give permission or make it possible for somebody to do or have something’.Grammar:Permit/allow someone + to do somethingWe use a direct object + to-infinitive after permit and allow:Grammar:Let someone + do somethingWe use an infinitive without to after let:Grammar:Passive with permit and allowWe often use the passive with permit and allow. Permit is often used for official public notices:
(Definition of allow verb (GIVE PERMISSION) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of allow

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Allowing and permitting, but you might be interested in these topics from the Law and the police topic area:

Definitions of “allow” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

cookery

the skill or activity of preparing and cooking food

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More