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 The group says its goal is to curtail the powers of the House speaker to empower individual members. Haris Alic, Fox News, 16 Nov. 2022 Districts that were created to empower Native Americans have now been sliced and diced to mute Native voices. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2022 The Founding Fathers set up the Electoral College — a series of state elections to pick the president — to empower states in terms of their own elections processes. Meg Kinnard, ajc, 1 Nov. 2022 The contentious congressional race between Republican Rep. Michelle Steel and Navy Reserve intelligence officer Jay Chen, a Democrat, is being played out in a district created to empower Asian American voters. Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2022 In many other organizations, Keown volunteers her time to work to empower the youth through education and opportunities. Brook Endale, The Enquirer, 14 Oct. 2022 Her There campaign—a global call to action to empower adolescent girls around the world to reach their full potential through education. ELLE, 11 Oct. 2022 The best way to empower innovators is to have dedicated rewards and incentives for innovation. Tendayi Viki, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2022 Last year, Boston elected one of its most diverse City Councils in history, with a mandate to empower the legislative body to bring change to City Hall. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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 4 Dec. 2022.

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 penalty L. H. Tribe

More from Merriam-Webster on empower

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