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Borrowed from Old French alouance.


  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /əˈlaʊəns/


allowance (countable and uncountable, plural allowances)

  1. permission; granting, conceding, or admitting
  2. Acknowledgment.
  3. That which is allowed; a share or portion allotted or granted; a sum granted as a reimbursement, a bounty, or as appropriate for any purpose; a stated quantity.
    her meagre allowance of food or drink
  4. Abatement; deduction; the taking into account of mitigating circumstances
    to make allowance for his naivety
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II
      After making the largest allowance for fraud.
  5. (commerce) A customary deduction from the gross weight of goods, differing by country.
    Tare and tret are examples of allowance.
  6. (horse racing) A permitted reduction in the weight that a racehorse must carry.
    Antonym: penalty
    On the Flat, an apprentice jockey starts with an allowance of 7 lb.
  7. A child's allowance; pocket money.
    She gives her daughters each an allowance of thirty dollars a month.
  8. (minting) A permissible deviation in the fineness and weight of coins, owing to the difficulty in securing exact conformity to the standard prescribed by law.
  9. (obsolete) approval; approbation
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Crabbe to this entry?)
  10. (obsolete) license; indulgence
    (Can we find and add a quotation of John Locke to this entry?)


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for allowance in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


allowance (third-person singular simple present allowances, present participle allowancing, simple past and past participle allowanced)

  1. (transitive) To put upon a fixed allowance (especially of provisions and drink).
    The captain was obliged to allowance his crew.
  2. (transitive) To supply in a fixed and limited quantity.
    Our provisions were allowanced.