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

Keep scrolling for more

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



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 experience is designed to improve skills, build self-esteem, and empower girls through skiing. Discover Magazine, "The Great Snow of Beaver Creek," 3 Oct. 2018 My goal for the project was to empower as many people as possible to get involved. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "A Wallingford Mission Trip Brings Together 360 Youth Volunteers To Repair Homes, Communities," 13 July 2018 There’s something very empowering about unpacking a fridge and making a meal that feels like a success. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Don’t throw away that perfectly good feast," 9 July 2018 The Zoya look is revealing, but in an empowering way. Shannon L. Bowen, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Costume Designers on 'GLOW,' 'The Crown' and More Helped Leading Ladies Find Their Power," 18 June 2018 This empowering approach is especially effective with Season 2’s two curveball clients: a cisgender woman and a trans man. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Queer Is Queer Eye?," 15 June 2018 Dailing wants these tours to be an empowering experience for citizens. Matt Harvey, Chicago Reader, "Arts / History / News / Politics / The Trump Era Chicago Corruption Walking Tours take sightseers through the seedy underbelly of the city's politics," 14 June 2018 The organization is a group that is dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and empowering women of color. Jamila Young, Courant Community, "Tea Room Brings Community Together," 26 Apr. 2018 Shi has created a wildly empowering brand that brings the agency of lingerie back to the wearer, not the viewer. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "This L.A. Lingerie Designer Is Sick of Diversity for Show," 19 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of empower

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about empower

Dictionary Entries near empower








Statistics for empower

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for empower

The first known use of empower was in 1648

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!