horse·​pow·​er | \ ˈhȯrs-ˌpau̇(-ə)r \

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

The midrange battery pack version is the quickest, according to Rivian, hitting 60 miles per hour in three seconds flat, thanks to a total power output of 562kW (about 750 horsepower). Sean O'kane, The Verge, "The all-electric Rivian R1T is a dream truck for adventurers," 26 Nov. 2018 This comes on the heels of an engine upgrade last year that brought a boost of 30 horsepower with the new 3.5-liter V-6 engine. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Toyota Sienna gets some upgrades for 2018, including new front end," 7 July 2018 Napa County Boating: Lake Berryessa, Lake Hennessey (no motors over 10 horsepower). Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lakes high, trout hungry at 10 East Bay parks," 11 Jan. 2018 Its ultimate 135,000-brake horsepower will be generated by two sources of power: a Rolls-Royce Eurofighter jet engine and a cluster of rockets from Norwegian aerospace company Nammo. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Rocket car won’t break 1,000 miles per hour unless company raises $33 million," 15 Oct. 2018 The last Corvette ZR1 was generally noted for being more user-friendly than the Z06—that is, the ZR1 felt less hard-core despite its extra horsepower. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Five Very Important Questions About the 2019 Corvette ZR1," 6 Dec. 2018 Something that had the horsepower of a Maserati but could actually fit a few friends. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "Great Drives: A European Tour in a Maserati Levante," 13 July 2018 The 400-mile battery version of the truck sends 522kW (about 700 horsepower) to the gearbox and will hit the 60 mph mark in 3.2 seconds. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "The all-electric Rivian R1T is a dream truck for adventurers," 26 Nov. 2018 Lucky for you, with 575 horsepower and 6,500 rpm, this is the perfect cat car for you. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Convertible Drives Across the U.S.," 26 July 2018

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 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 \

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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