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


accredit, authorize, certify, charter [British], 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

The state legislature this week passed a bill to empower the racing board to immediately suspend a track's racing license to protect horses and riders, which Newsom signed into law Wednesday. Chuck Culpepper And Jacob Bogage, courant.com, "Breeders’ Cup will remain at Santa Anita, where 30 horses have died since Christmas," 28 June 2019 The news anchor hopes to additionally empower stay-at-home moms who want to get back into the workplace, a topic she’s discussed previously on Today. Dana Rose Falcone, PEOPLE.com, "MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle Opens Up About 'Struggles' of Balancing Motherhood and a Full-Time Career," 28 June 2019 In another effort, Brioxy, an organization founded to empower young professionals of color, will work to boost home ownership and entrepreneurship among African Americans in city neighborhoods. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "T. Rowe Price Foundation offers $2.7 million in grants for city neighborhoods," 27 June 2019 The 29-year-old British vlogger and activist uses her YouTube channel, My Pale Skin, as a platform to empower women with the confidence to live their lives without the fear of being judged for their appearance. Em Ford, Teen Vogue, "10 Things I Wish People Knew About Acne," 27 June 2019 As a leader, the best way to empower your teams and give them the autonomy to make their own judgements is to teach them the 80/20 rule. Teresa Dietrich, Quartz at Work, "How to stay focused on the business decisions that matter most," 26 June 2019 Carl Sagan, and his colleagues Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, created our organization to empower people everywhere to advance space science and exploration. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Carl Sagan's Solar Sail Is Finally Ready To Fly," 21 June 2019 Will Libra lives up to Zuckerberg’s lofty economic goals and empower billions of people? Jay L. Zagorsky, The Conversation, "Facebook claims Libra offers economic empowerment to billions – an economist is skeptical," 18 June 2019 Learn how the group has since shifted its mission, empowering residents to develop their own agricultural capabilities; and help with outreach initiatives at an island farm. National Geographic, "Puerto Rico High School Community Service," 12 June 2019

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

10 Jul 2019

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 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.


transitive verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with empower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for empower

Spanish Central: Translation of empower

Nglish: Translation of empower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of empower for Arabic Speakers

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).


a small bunch of flowers

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