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, 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

AUrate was founded by Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui to empower other women to shop in a market that has historically catered to men. refinery29.com, "Affordable & Ethically Sourced Diamonds You Can Try Before You Buy," 13 July 2018 While a number of her subjects seemed to feel empowered by their decision to freeze their eggs, this sense of frustration was common. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Lots of Successful Women Are Freezing Their Eggs. But It May Not Be About Their Careers.," 3 July 2018 All of a sudden every product had to either empower women or give them confidence. Ben Wofford, Glamour, "The NRA's Most Wanted Customer: Women," 28 June 2018 But using language to subvert societal expectations is just one way Mona is working to empower women to find their voices. Amanda Randone, Teen Vogue, "This Woman Is Giving a Voice to Muslims in the #MeToo Movement," 26 June 2018 Keeping with the theme of empowering women in music, the night is a benefit for Los Angeles’ Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Best Things to Do This Week in L.A.," 25 June 2018 Sometimes runners see weight loss as a competition, said Moore, who founded the nonprofit organization Embody Love Movement in 2013, which focuses on empowering women and girls. Kelyn Soong, chicagotribune.com, "Runners spread awarness about eating disorders in their sport," 7 June 2018 This would help reinforce the perception that the pageant is serious about empowering women. Hilary Levey Friedman, Fortune, "Why Banning Swimsuits Won't Fix Miss America," 6 June 2018 Beyond diversifying surf culture, Brown Girl Surf seeks to build community by empowering women of all ages to express themselves and feel brave and comfortable in their own skin. Yasmin Nouh, The Root, "Brown Girl Surf Wants to Change Surf Culture," 30 May 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

18 Sep 2018

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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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