em·​pow·​er·​ment | \ im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r-mənt How to pronounce empowerment (audio) \
plural empowerments

Definition of empowerment

1 : the act or action of empowering someone or something : the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties Malcolm X, the eloquent spokesman for black empowerment who, in 1965, was gunned down at the age of 39 in New York city, continues to influence the political, social, and cultural climate of our society.— Joe Wood Therefore, part of the cure for poverty was empowerment—training the residents of a poor neighborhood to organize themselves and learn to get things from the power structure.— Nicholas Lemann
2 : the state of being empowered to do something : the power, right, or authority to do something Education does not automatically result in women's empowerment, as the social and economic context in which women live can pose overwhelming constraints on their choices.— Erin Murphy-Graham The focus on getting a candidate elected is a way for voters wary of broken promises to gain a sense of empowerment.— John Dutton Amid the uproar, he and his fellow students felt a budding—and maybe false—sense of empowerment.— James Graff Like John Lennon, he brought the idea that through music, empowerment and words, you can really come up with world peace.— Wyclef Jean

First Known Use of empowerment

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of empowerment was in 1651

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Cite this Entry

“Empowerment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empowerment. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on empowerment

Nglish: Translation of empowerment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of empowerment for Arabic Speakers


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