horse·​pow·​er | \ ˈhȯrs-ˌpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce horsepower (audio) \

Definition of horsepower

1 : the power that a horse exerts in pulling
2 : a unit of power equal in the U.S. to 746 watts and nearly equivalent to the English gravitational unit of the same name that equals 550 foot-pounds of work per second
3 : effective power intellectual horsepower computing horsepower

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Examples of horsepower in a Sentence

an engine with 200 horsepower that architectural firm probably doesn't have the creative horsepower to produce a truly innovative design

Recent Examples on the Web

With 12,000 horsepower, the ship could travel at a maximum 22.5 knots, ideal for ocean-going diplomacy. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Story Behind the Royal Family's Yacht, Britannia," 30 Sep. 2018 But the Model 3’s 0-60 time suggests something above 450 horsepower. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Polestar 2 Is the First Car to Directly Challenge the Tesla Model 3," 27 Feb. 2019 The powertrain is Honda’s two-motor hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four cylinder and CVT with 212 total horsepower (engine and electric motors) and 212 foot-pounds of torque available from 0-2,000 rpm. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Honda Accord 2.0T: Near perfect, in an imperfect world," 1 June 2018 Performance superstars like the Ford GT, brand new Aston Martin Vantage and the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, available with as much as 680 horsepower, will also be on display. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "New Wrangler, Ram, Silverado, Mustang 'Bullitt' star at Houston Auto Show," 24 Jan. 2018 Meanwhile, there will be plenty of SUVs and high-horsepower sports cars on display as cheap gasoline helps SUV and truck sales continue their dramatic climb. Tom Krisher, The Seattle Times, "Detroit show has SUVs, horsepower, but electric cars are few," 14 Jan. 2019 At age 85, a favorite pastime of George H.W. Bush was firing up his boat, the Fidelity, and opening up the three 300 horsepower engines to fly, joyfully fly across the Atlantic with the Secret Service boats straining to keep up. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of President George W. Bush's Eulogy for His Father," 5 Dec. 2018 Speed, which has also been cited as a factor in the increase of pedestrian deaths, is a greater concern for SUVs as well because these vehicles have more horsepower than smaller cars. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Better car design could prevent pedestrian deaths, says NTSB report," 27 Sep. 2018 Ford showed off a 700-plus horsepower Mustang Shelby GT500. Mike Colias, WSJ, "Detroit Auto Show Highlights Big SUVs, High-Performance Vehicles," 15 Jan. 2019

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

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for horsepower

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for horsepower

The first known use of horsepower was in 1806

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More Definitions for horsepower



English Language Learners Definition of horsepower

: a unit used to measure the power of engines


horse·​pow·​er | \ ˈhȯrs-ˌpau̇-ər How to pronounce horsepower (audio) \

Kids Definition of horsepower

: a unit of power that equals the work done in lifting 550 pounds one foot in one second

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Comments on horsepower

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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