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 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, known for its love of heavy-duty horsepower in its Hemis and Hellcats, is partnering with a Silicon Valley air taxi start-up with plans to produce electric aircraft in 2023. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gets into air taxi business with Silicon Valley's Archer," 13 Jan. 2021 Snowmobilers who drive big mountain sleds with tons of horsepower and paddle tracks scoff at visible water on the ice. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "The first step in extracting your snowmachine from overflow: Avoid overflow," 26 Dec. 2020 The company claims a peak of 1817 horsepower at 8000 rpm—the engine revs out at 8200 rpm—accompanied by a 1193-pound-foot torque peak at 5500 rpm. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "1817-HP Hennessey Venom F5 Revealed, Claims 311-MPH Top Speed," 15 Dec. 2020 The motors are loud and sluggish on open water (at least compared to an outboard of similar horsepower), but the only other way to access shallow water is in an airboat. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "6 Styles of Duck Boats (And How to Pick the Right One For You)," 14 Dec. 2020 All CX-30s are powered by a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine capable of 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Mazda’s CX-30: Crossover has puzzling name, but it’s fun to drive (review)," 31 Oct. 2020 In terms of sheer GPU horsepower, Nvidia's RTX 3000 series and AMD's RX 6000 series appear to be in a dead heat. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "AMD’s newest graphics cards: RDNA2 power from $579 to $999," 28 Oct. 2020 The previous-gen road cars were powered by a 2.0-liter unit that produced 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque, although the first-gen BRZ GT300 car used the EJ20 engine from the Subaru Legacy. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "See—and Hear—the New Subaru BRZ Super GT Race Car," 29 Dec. 2020 Powering all of this off-road adventure is a base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the Defender to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "2021 Land Rover Defender is a skillful update of an iconic SUV (review)," 19 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for horsepower

Time Traveler

The first known use of horsepower was in 1806

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Statistics for horsepower

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Horsepower.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for horsepower


How to pronounce horsepower (audio)

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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