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noun in·flu·ence \ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)s, especially Southern in-ˈ\

Simple Definition of influence

  • : the power to change or affect someone or something : the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen

  • : a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way

Full Definition of influence

  1. 1 a :  an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b :  an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars

  2. 2 :  an emanation of spiritual or moral force

  3. 3 a :  the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b :  corrupt interference with authority for personal gain

  4. 4 :  the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways :  sway

  5. 5 :  one that exerts influence

under the influence
  1. :  affected by alcohol :  drunk <was arrested for driving under the influence>

Examples of influence

  1. Recent years have seen a decline in the company's influence within the industry.

  2. Her ideas have gradually gained influence in the company.

  3. He used his influence to reform the company's policies.

  4. She has remained under the influence of her parents.

  5. She claims that her personal problems played no influence upon her decision to resign.

  6. His health problems may have had some influence on his decision.

  7. Her parents still have a great deal of influence over her.

  8. The chairman wields considerable influence over the board's decisions.

  9. Her parents are concerned that her new friends may have a bad influence on her.

  10. Emily Dickinson has had a major influence on his poetry.

Origin of influence

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin influentia, from Latin influent-, influens, present participle of influere to flow in, from in- + fluere to flow — more at fluid

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of influence

influence, authority, prestige, weight, credit mean power exerted over the minds or behavior of others. influence may apply to a force exercised and received consciously or unconsciously <used her influence to get the bill passed>. authority implies the power of winning devotion or allegiance or of compelling acceptance and belief <his opinions lacked authority>. prestige implies the ascendancy given by conspicuous excellence or reputation for superiority <the prestige of the newspaper>. weight implies measurable or decisive influence in determining acts or choices <their wishes obviously carried much weight>. credit suggests influence that arises from the confidence of others <his credit with the press>.



verb in·flu·ence

Simple Definition of influence

  • : to affect or change (someone or something) in an indirect but usually important way : to have an influence on (someone or something)

Full Definition of influence


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means

  3. 2 :  to have an effect on the condition or development of

in·flu·ence·able play \-ən(t)-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of influence

  1. I was deeply influenced by my parents.

  2. She claims that her decision to resign was not influenced by her personal problems.

  3. No one knows how this decision will influence the outcome of the election.

  4. He's accused of illegally attempting to influence the jury.


First Known Use of influence


Synonym Discussion of influence

affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction <the sight affected her to tears>. influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior) <our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing>. touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming <plants touched by frost> <his emotions were touched by her distress>. impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect <only one of the plans impressed him>. strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation <struck by the solemnity of the occasion>. sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action <politicians who are swayed by popular opinion>.

INFLUENCE Defined for Kids



noun in·flu·ence \ˈin-ˌflü-əns\

Definition of influence

  1. 1 :  the act or power of causing an effect or change without use of direct force or authority <You could move to some other part of Mexico, but … Luis's influence is far-reaching. — Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising>

  2. 2 :  a person or thing that has an indirect but usually important effect <She's a bad influence on him.>



verb in·flu·ence

Definition of influence


  1. :  to affect or change in an indirect but usually important way <I was influenced by my parents.>

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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