em·​pow·​er | \ im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r \
empowered; empowering; empowers

Definition of empower

transitive verb

1 : to give official authority or legal power to empowered her attorney to act on her behalf
3 : to promote the self-actualization or influence of women's movement has been inspiring and empowering women— Ron Hansen

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Other Words from empower

empowerment \ im-​ˈpau̇(-​ə)r-​mənt \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for empower


accredit, authorize, certify, charter [British], commission, enable, invest, license (also licence), qualify, vest, warrant



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Examples of empower in a Sentence

seeking changes in the workplace that will empower women the federal agency empowered to collect taxes

Recent Examples on the Web

The Duchess of Sussex has announced her first patronages, including support for an organization that empowers unemployed women to succeed in job interviews with coaching and personal styling. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Duchess Meghan Selected Her First Four Royal Patronages," 10 Jan. 2019 The House planned to approve a bill that would empower the Legislature to intervene in any suit at any stage, a right already granted to the attorney general. David Eggert, The Seattle Times, "Michigan Republicans to take up limits on Democrats’ powers," 5 Dec. 2018 On Monday, La Mar Taylor and Ahmed Ismail opened Hxouse, a creative and digital incubator that empowers young entrepreneurs. Vogue, "Bella Hadid and The Weeknd Celebrate Technology in Toronto With Google and Rémy Martin," 7 Nov. 2018 Actual social policy that would actually empower women based on, what, like 15 other countries ... Maternity leave. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more.," 3 Oct. 2018 Started by student Laura Jackson, who first grew out her body hair for a school project, #Januhairy encourages women to accept and empower themselves while challenging the view that female body hair is abnormal and something to be ashamed of. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Women Are Ditching Shaving for #Januhairy on Social Media," 5 Jan. 2019 The Clayton Act allows state AGs to bring antitrust actions on behalf of their citizens, so reversing Illinois Brick would empower them to tap another honey pot by suing tech companies. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Antitrust Bar vs. Apple," 23 Nov. 2018 Taking time for myself has empowered me on this grief journey. Dixie Lincoln-nichols, SELF, "5 Ways I Learned to Deal With Grief During the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 Luckily, Miley Cyrus is here to give an iconic (and kiiiinda questionable) Christmas tune a fresh and empowered vibe. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Miley Cyrus Performs Updated Version of "Santa Baby" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"," 22 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'empower.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of empower

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for empower

Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for empower

The first known use of empower was in 1648

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More Definitions for empower



English Language Learners Definition of empower

: to give power to (someone)

: to give official authority or legal power to (someone)


em·​pow·​er | \ im-ˈpau̇-ər \
empowered; empowering

Kids Definition of empower

: to give authority or legal power to She empowered her lawyer to act on her behalf.


transitive verb
em·​pow·​er | \ im-ˈpau̇-ər \

Legal Definition of empower

: to give official authority or legal power to no branch of government should be empowered unilaterally to impose a serious penalty— L. H. Tribe

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More from Merriam-Webster on empower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with empower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for empower

Spanish Central: Translation of empower

Nglish: Translation of empower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of empower for Arabic Speakers

Comments on empower

What made you want to look up empower? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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