em·​pow·​er | \ im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce empower (audio) \
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
2 : enable sense 1a … nootropic agents empower the lower amounts of acetylcholine in diseased brains to work overtime …Science News
3 : 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for empower



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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 For the first time under the democratic system, Portugal’s governors are empowered to suspend rights and freedoms during the state of emergency. Marta Vidal, The Christian Science Monitor, "When guns bloomed with flowers: In lockdown, Portugal remembers," 24 Apr. 2020 Like other governors, DeWine also is empowered to deploy the National Guard to deal with health emergencies. Randy Ludlow, Cincinnati.com, "Coronavirus in Ohio: Health officials have authority to check spread," 11 Mar. 2020 As governor, he was empowered to appoint a temporary successor. Allison Pecorin, ABC News, "Blagojevich thanks Trump for his 'kindness' in commuting prison sentence," 19 Feb. 2020 Besides, empowering underlings isn’t Trump’s style. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The short, unhappy life of Trump’s coronavirus task force," 10 May 2020 This article is a part of the Black Magic Project, which focuses on people who embody the resilient and empowering legacy of the black community. al, "#IRunWithMaud: Alabama group hosts jogging event to honor Ahmaud Arbery," 7 May 2020 Burton tells stories of life on her farm with her family, shares recipes and tips, and expresses the importance of finding acting roles that support and empower women. Hilarie Burton Morgan, refinery29.com, "Hilarie Burton Morgan On Loving Loudly: “I Yell Because I Care”," 7 May 2020 Colleagues remember Link Elementary School Principal Justin Jones as a friend and empowering leader. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, "Link Elementary School principal who died in car accident is remembered by Spring ISD colleagues," 5 May 2020 The contest shows that A.I.-empowered traffic management systems for large cities may not be too far away. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. engineers should spend time training not just algorithms, but also the humans who use them," 5 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for empower

Time Traveler

The first known use of empower was in 1648

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Statistics for empower

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Empower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empower. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce empower (audio)

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 How to pronounce empower (audio) \
empowered; empowering

Kids Definition of empower

: to give authority or legal power to She empowered her lawyer to act on her behalf.
em·​pow·​er | \ im-ˈpau̇-ər How to pronounce empower (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for empower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with empower

Spanish Central: Translation of empower

Nglish: Translation of empower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of empower for Arabic Speakers

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