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

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 Its displacement is unchanged, but output increases from 179 to 188 horsepower (at 6000 rpm). Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, "2019 Nissan Altima: New Engines and All-Wheel Drive," 29 Mar. 2018 But the sides that come with most of the Southern menu don’t have the horsepower to keep up, especially the hoppin’ John itself, the namesake union of black-eyed peas and rice. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Get the South out of your mouth at Hoppin’ John," 5 July 2018 Second-generation models now have a seven-speed transmission to improve fuel economy, acceleration, and torque, along with an increase in horsepower from 317 to 390. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Nissan Armada full-size SUV has plentyof room for the family, lots of technology," 17 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.

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First Known Use of horsepower

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

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The first known use of horsepower was in 1806

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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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