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permit definition


This page has 12 definitions of permit in English and French. Permit is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use permit in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: permît

English permit definition

Etymology 1

From Middle English permitten, borrowed from Middle French permettre, from Latin permittō (give up, allow), from per (through) + mittō (send).



permit (third-person singular simple present permits, present participle permitting, simple past and past participle permitted)

  1. (transitive) To allow (something) to happen, to give permission for. [from 15th c.]
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698, page 48:
      Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
    • 1930, "Presbytarians", Time, 19 Dec 1930:
      Last week the decision on two points was conclusive: the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. will not permit ordination of women as ministers, but will permit their election as ruling elders, permission which makes possible a woman as moderator.
  2. (transitive) To allow (someone) to do something; to give permission to. [from 15th c.]
    • 2009, Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 17 Jan 09, p. 1:
      He was ultimately cleared, but during that period, Mr. Ackman said, his lawyers would not permit him to defend himself publicly.
  3. (intransitive) To allow for, to make something possible. [from 16th c.]
    • 2006, Mary Riddell, "Trident is a Weapon of Mass Destruction", The Observer, 3 Dec 06:
      What was left to say? Quite a lot, if only parliamentary time permitted.
    • 2009, John Mitchell, "Clubs Preview", The Guardian, 25 Jul 09:
      For snackage there's a 1950s-themed diner plus a barbie on the terrace, weather permitting.
  4. (intransitive) To allow, to admit (of). [from 18th c.]
    • 1910, Saki [pseudonym; Hector Hugh Munro], “Reginald in Russia”, in Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches, London: Methuen & Co. [], OCLC 1263167, page 4:
      "You English are always so frivolous," said the Princess. "In Russia we have too many troubles to permit of our being light-hearted."
    • 2007, Ian Jack, The Guardian, 22 Sep 07:
      "As an instrument of economic policy, incantation does not permit of minor doubts or scruples."
  5. (transitive, pronounced like noun) To grant formal authorization for (something).
    The Building Department permitted that project last week.
  6. (transitive, pronounced like noun) To attempt to obtain or succeed in obtaining formal authorization for (something).
    We've been busy permitting the State Street development.
  7. (now archaic, rare) To hand over, resign (something to someone). [from 15th c.]
Usage notes


permit (plural permits)

  1. An artifact or document rendering something allowed or legal. [from 17th c.]
    A construction permit can be obtained from the town offices.
    Go over to the park office and get a permit for the #3 shelter.
    1. A learner's permit.
  2. (obsolete) Formal permission. [16th-19th c.]

Related terms

Etymology 2

An irregular borrowing from Spanish palometa, probably from a Doric variant of Ancient Greek πηλαμύς (pēlamús, young tuna).



permit (plural permit)

  1. A pompano of the species Trachinotus falcatus.
See also


French permit definition




  1. third-person singular past historic of permettre