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

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

Titan XD weighs at least 1,500 pounds more than the light duty competition but makes less horsepower. Robert Duffer,, "Nissan Titan XD is a diesel beast of a truck," 5 July 2018 The normally aspirated, 2.5-liter engine puts out 170 horsepower, decidedly less than its competition. Al Haas,, "2018 Nissan Rogue offers comfort and utility but not performance," 2 Feb. 2018 The diesel will put out 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. Chicago Tribune,, "Pickups, SUVs are king of the hill for 2019," 18 Jan. 2018 The four electric motors (one for each wheel) combine to produce a gargantuan 750 horsepower, enough to hustle this behemoth of a car up to 155 mph. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Mercedes' Electric Maybach SUV Comes With a Built-In Tea Kettle," 24 Apr. 2018 Not all of the combined power is available at the same time, but maximum output is 99 horsepower, which pushes this 2,500-pound car along quite nicely. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "COMPACT," 13 July 2018 For the XC60 T6, turbocharging creates 316 horsepower, and rockets the vehicle to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, according to Motor Trend. Scott Sturgis,, "Driving the 2018 Volvo XC60," 5 July 2018 The spending included high-horsepower locomotives and upgraded track strong enough to withstand the extreme forces that can pull a long, heavy train off of the track on tight curves. Daniel Machalaba, WSJ, "Why Railroads Are Making Freight Trains Longer and Longer," 15 June 2018 There are other common-sense safety considerations, such as avoiding higher-horsepower cars. Robert Duffer,, "Graduating to your own car? Safety features are key," 8 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of horsepower

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about horsepower

Share horsepower

Statistics for horsepower

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for horsepower

The first known use of horsepower was in 1806

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!