Say you’re stranded on an island with a group of people and you divide your limited food supply. The portion you each receive is your share, also called your allotment. No fighting over the coconuts!

The word allotment shows how languages intertwined through the ages. We can see the word's origins in several languages, including the Old English hlot, the Gothic hlauts, the Old High German hloz, and the Old French aloter. All referred to dividing something into groups, or “lots.” A "lot" refers to a group of things — stores refer to shipments of goods as being divided into “lots.” That idea of grouping will help you remember the meaning of allotment.

Definitions of allotment
  1. noun
    the act of distributing by allotting or apportioning; distribution according to a plan
    synonyms: allocation, apportioning, apportionment, assignation, parceling, parcelling
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    grant, subsidisation, subsidization
    the act of providing a subsidy
    reallocation, reallotment, reapportionment
    a new apportionment (especially a new apportionment of congressional seats in the United States on the basis of census results)
    the act of apportioning or distributing something
    the act of rationing
    parcel, portion, share
    the allotment of some amount by dividing something
    award, awarding
    a grant made by a law court
    block grant
    a grant of federal money to state and local governments to support social welfare programs
    a grant from a central government to a local government
    a redistribution of something
    new deal
    a reapportioning of something
    type of:
    the act of distributing or spreading or apportioning
  2. noun
    a share set aside for a specific purpose
    synonyms: allocation
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    a share that has been allocated again
    a proportional share assigned to each participant
    type of:
    part, percentage, portion, share
    assets belonging to or due to or contributed by an individual person or group
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