em·​pow·​er im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce empower (audio)
empowered; empowering; empowers

transitive verb

: to give official authority or legal power to
empowered her attorney to act on her behalf
: enable sense 1a
… nootropic agents empower the lower amounts of acetylcholine in diseased brains to work overtime …Science News
: to promote the self-actualization or influence of
The American women's movement has been inspiring and empowering women for nearly 20 years …Ron Hansen
Members of our discipline often envision themselves as agents of social change who try to promote critique of dominant ideologies and empower students to become active participants in the larger political world.Christy Friend

Example Sentences

seeking changes in the workplace that will empower women the federal agency empowered to collect taxes
Recent Examples on the Web On Tuesday, May 16, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex stepped out at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City for the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards as Meghan was honored as one of this year's Woman of Vision Award honorees for her advocacy to empower women. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 17 May 2023 Meghan was being honored in New York for her global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls, the Ms. Foundation said in a statement. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 Petras, a transgender pop star, is shown wearing a series of swimsuits and bikinis as part of the magazine's campaign to empower women that launched this week. Heather Hamilton, Washington Examiner, 17 May 2023 Though balancing the research with her schoolwork was difficult, Nathan said, the experience has empowered her to keep asking scientific questions. Adithi Ramakrishnan, Dallas News, 17 May 2023 Billboard’s Women in Music event has celebrated artists, producers and executives who have made significant contributions to the music industry and empowered women through their work since 2007. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 15 May 2023 Our data shows managers are looking to empower their people with AI. Jared Spataro, Fortune, 11 May 2023 And on unemployment benefits, Republicans are now pursuing a bill that pretends to go after fraudsters while actually seeking to repeal federal funds approved by Democrats in 2021 that would empower the Labor Department to investigate fraud cases. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 Critics worry the law could out transgender-identifying children to their families and erode trust between students and teachers while supporters have contested the legislation keeps parents empowered and informed about their children when at school. Compiled By Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 6 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'empower.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of empower was in 1648

Dictionary Entries Near empower

Cite this Entry

“Empower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empower. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


em·​pow·​er im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce empower (audio)
: to give official authority or legal power to

Legal Definition


transitive verb
em·​pow·​er im-ˈpau̇-ər How to pronounce empower (audio)
: to give official authority or legal power to
no branch of government should be empowered unilaterally to impose a serious penaltyL. H. Tribe

More from Merriam-Webster on empower

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