noun au·thor·i·ty \ə-ˈthär-ə-tē, -, -ˈthr-\

: the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something

: the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected or obeyed by other people

: a quality that makes something seem true or real

plural au·thor·i·ties

Full Definition of AUTHORITY

a (1) :  a citation (as from a book or file) used in defense or support (2) :  the source from which the citation is drawn
b (1) :  a conclusive statement or set of statements (as an official decision of a court)
(2) :  a decision taken as a precedent (3) :  testimony
c :  an individual cited or appealed to as an expert
a :  power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior
b :  freedom granted by one in authority :  right
a :  persons in command; specifically :  government
b :  a governmental agency or corporation to administer a revenue-producing public enterprise <the transit authority>
a :  grounds, warrant <had excellent authority for believing the claim>
b :  convincing force <lent authority to the performance>

Examples of AUTHORITY

  1. The boss is not popular but his authority is unquestioned.
  2. She has an air of authority.
  3. Her southern accent lent authority to her performance.
  4. We reported the incident to hospital authorities.
  5. Local authorities are investigating the accident.


Middle English auctorite, from Anglo-French auctorité, from Latin auctoritat-, auctoritas opinion, decision, power, from auctor
First Known Use: 13th century

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