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
3 : to promote the self-actualization or influence of women's movement has been inspiring and empowering women— Ron Hansen

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Other Words from empower

empowerment \ im-​ˈpau̇(-​ə)r-​mənt How to pronounce empowerment (audio) \ noun

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

And awesome women are showing us the way, empowering us to broadcast our own awesomeness. Andrea Bartz, Good Housekeeping, "Look, I'm a Self-Promoting Woman. And I’m Not Apologizing for It.," 14 Feb. 2019 Our team has a very inclusive and collaborative style, and we’ve always felt empowered to try new things. Michelle Archer, The Seattle Times, "Bellevue research scientist is on a mission to improve global health equality," 12 Dec. 2018 In addition to now being able to use the kitchen seven days a week, the women have gained food hygiene qualifications and have been empowered to start their own projects. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Returned to the Hubb Community Kitchen," 21 Nov. 2018 After all, the leaders of democratic nations are typically more sensitive to short-term economic pain (particularly, in an election year) than leaders of authoritarian nations who are officially empowered to rule for life. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "After Trump’s New Tariff Threat, China Seeks Strategy for Retaliation," 11 July 2018 The mission of the organization is to empower girls ages eight through 13. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Robertson Girls On The Run," 19 June 2018 Jorgensen said that women’s rights would likely receive more attention, and that women should be empowered to have a voice in the home, their community and politics. Amanda C. Coyne, ajc, "UGA grad crowned Miss Georgia; Miss Fulton County first runner-up," 16 June 2018 She was empowered to make decisions that affected the course of the movement. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Unheralded Legacy of Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Cotton," 14 June 2018 Dawn, 43, said she was empowered to come forward by real estate agent Ashley Perkins’ recent decision to share her mother’s story. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Thomas Ravenel Has Not Been Fired from Southern Charm Amid Assault Allegations, Source Says," 4 June 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.

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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

6 Mar 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

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