great power

noun, often capitalized G&P

Definition of great power

: one of the nations that figure most decisively in international affairs : superpower

Examples of great power in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

World Refugee Day this year provided a sobering reminder of how easily the world’s great powers can turn their backs on those fleeing war, persecution and poverty. Alf Dubs, Time, "I Fled the Nazis as a Child Refugee. Trump's Border Policy Echoes Europe's Darkest Days," 21 June 2018 While 20 percent would not be enough for the party to lead a government, a strong show of support will give the party greater power to pressure the next administration. Fox News, "Sweden's most significant election in years, at a glance," 6 Sep. 2018 Central government is getting greater power to determine where houses are built. The Economist, "Britain’s housing supply is perking up at last," 10 May 2018 But the former prime minister said that, after more than two decades of EU membership during which the bloc had acquired greater powers in successive treaties, a referendum was the right thing to do. Mick Krever, CNN, "Former British PM David Cameron says he doesn't regret the Brexit referendum," 18 Apr. 2018 But that history is why, for Mr. Kim, his meeting with Mr. Trump could seem like an echo of President Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 summit with Mao Zedong, where the former accepted the latter as the leader of a fellow great power. New York Times, "An Unpredictable Trump and a Risk-Prone Kim Mean High Stakes and Mismatched Expectations," 23 Apr. 2018 The engine's main advantage is a greater power density than a Wankel can achieve because a more balanced design allows the motor to rev higher—so says Peter King, one of two partners at REDA. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The Rhombus Rotary Engine: Can a Quirky New Design Top the Famous Wankel?," 18 Jan. 2019 Moscow has also sought to gain new footholds in Africa and the Arctic—all in a bid to return Russia to great power politics. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Putin Accuses U.S. of Triggering an Arms Race," 20 Dec. 2018 Even though full-scale interstate warfare between great powers remains improbable, there is still scope for less severe forms of military competition. The Economist, "The future of war," 25 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'great power.' 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 great power

1660, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about great power

Statistics for great power

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for great power

The first known use of great power was in 1660

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on great power

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with great power

Comments on great power

What made you want to look up great power? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!