American English

Definition of allow verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they allow
    he / she / it allows
    past simple allowed
    -ing form allowing
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    let someone or something do something
  1. 1to let someone or something do something; to let something happen or be done allow somebody to do something His parents won't allow him to stay out late. He is not allowed to stay out late. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. allow something to do something He allowed his mind to wander. allow yourself to do something She won't allow herself to be dictated to. allow something Smoking is not allowed in the hall. We do not allow smoking in the hall.
  2. 2allow somebody/yourself something to let someone have something You're allowed an hour to complete the test. I'm not allowed visitors. I sometimes allow myself the luxury of a cigar.
  3. 3[usually passive] to let someone or something go into, through, out of, etc. a place allow something No dogs allowed (= you cannot bring them in). allow somebody/something + adv./prep. The prisoners are allowed out of their cells for two hours a day. The crowd parted to allow her through.
  4. make possible
  5. 4allow something to make something possible A ramp allows easy access for wheelchairs. Language Bankprocessdescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making. / This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper. / …dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls. /Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
  6. time/money/food, etc.
  7. 5allow something (for somebody/something) to make sure that you have enough of something for a particular purpose How much time would you allow for the trip? You need to allow three yards of fabric for the dress.
  8. accept/admit
  9. 6(formal) to accept or admit something; to agree that something is true or correct allow something The judge allowed my claim. “Objection!” “I'll allow it.” allow that… He refuses to allow that such a situation could arise. allow somebody something She was very helpful when my mother was sick—I'll allow you that. compare disallow
  10. Idioms used to offer help politely “Allow me,” he said, taking the tray from her.
    give/allow somebody/something free/full rein, give/allow free/full rein to something
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    to give someone complete freedom of action; to allow a feeling to be expressed freely The designer was given free rein. The script allows full rein to her larger-than-life acting style. When I paint I just give my imagination free rein.
    Phrasal Verbsallow for somebody/somethingallow of something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: allow