influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence | \ ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)s How to pronounce influence (audio) , especially Southern in-ˈflü- \
plural influences

Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
2a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
3 : one that exerts influence
4 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
5a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
under the influence
: affected by alcohol or drug intoxication was arrested for driving under the influence

influence

verb
influenced; influencing

Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means She attempted to influence his decision. greatly influenced by my parents
2 : to have an effect on the condition or development of Productivity was influenced by worker satisfaction.

Other Words from influence

Verb

influenceable \ ˈin-​ˌflü-​ən(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce influence (audio) \ adjective
In the situation where performance measures are not seen as influenceable, there is little chance of the person seeing a connection between his effort and his rewards. — Lyman W. Porter et al.

Synonyms for influence

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for influence

Noun

influence, authority, prestige, weight, credit mean power exerted over the minds or behavior of others. influence may apply to a force exercised and received consciously or unconsciously. used her influence to get the bill passed authority implies the power of winning devotion or allegiance or of compelling acceptance and belief. his opinions lacked authority prestige implies the ascendancy given by conspicuous excellence or reputation for superiority. the prestige of the newspaper weight implies measurable or decisive influence in determining acts or choices. their wishes obviously carried much weight credit suggests influence that arises from the confidence of others. his credit with the press

Verb

affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction. the sight affected her to tears influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior). our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming. plants touched by frost his emotions were touched by her distress impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect. only one of the plans impressed him strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation. struck by the solemnity of the occasion sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action. politicians who are swayed by popular opinion

The Surprising History of Influence and Its Modern Use

Noun

Influence may seem like a ho-hum word, but its history is heavenly.

The word first referred to a celestial fluid that was believed to flow from the stars. As this fluid reached the Earth, it supposedly affected the actions of the planet's inhabitants—especially the human ones. (The word influenza has the same origin: the Medieval Latin word influentia. It was for a time believed that epidemics were caused by unusual conjunctions of the planets.)

In modern use, the noun typically refers to the power to change or affect someone or something—especially the power to cause changes without directly forcing those changes to happen. Influence can also refer to a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way.

The noun had been in use for more than 200 years before the verb use developed. As a verb, influence typically means "to affect or change someone or something in an indirect but usually important way." Something or someone that influences a person or thing, then, has an influence on that person or thing.

Examples of influence in a Sentence

Noun Recent years have seen a decline in the company's influence within the industry. Her ideas have gradually gained influence in the company. He used his influence to reform the company's policies. She has remained under the influence of her parents. She claims that her personal problems played no influence upon her decision to resign. His health problems may have had some influence on his decision. Her parents still have a great deal of influence over her. The chairman wields considerable influence over the board's decisions. Her parents are concerned that her new friends may have a bad influence on her. Emily Dickinson has had a major influence on his poetry. Verb I was deeply influenced by my parents. She claims that her decision to resign was not influenced by her personal problems. No one knows how this decision will influence the outcome of the election. He's accused of illegally attempting to influence the jury. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Indigenous influence is growing In the 2020 elections, Indigenous voters helped sway the results in some Arizona races, and the state swung from red to blue in the presidential race for the first time in more than 20 years. Arlyssa Becenti, The Arizona Republic, 8 May 2022 The leak proves that the Supreme Court is a political body, where horse-trading and influence campaigns are as much a part of the process as legal reasoning. New York Times, 7 May 2022 The new elites will hold the most influence across higher education broadly, including across the traditional elites themselves. Brandon Busteed, Forbes, 7 May 2022 Miller’s fierce drumming gave them shape, though that shape often shifted, rumbled and showed a surprising rock influence. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 In turn, Paxton has long credited the influence of the music and activism of Pete Seeger. Thom Duffy, Billboard, 6 May 2022 Troutt shared his own announcement and a kind message about Prewett's influence on his life. Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 6 May 2022 Coady pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving in 2016, court records show. oregonlive, 6 May 2022 Looking in from the outside, this arrangement appeared to be a picture-perfect surrogate father-son relationship, when in reality, Delp’s outsized influence over Franklin did more harm than good, according to Gilden. Olive Fellows, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb State officials and a Vornado spokesman have said the donations did not influence Vornado’s role in the venture. New York Times, 9 May 2022 It’s about how your parents can influence your life. Erik Morse, Vogue, 9 May 2022 Because Musk has tens of millions of followers on Twitter, more human-seeming bots have a chance to get traction and influence many people at once, experts say. Washington Post, 8 May 2022 Their research helps identify how variations in atmospheric or oceanic conditions may influence the behavior and stability of ice shelves in the region in the future. Allison Chinchar, CNN, 7 May 2022 The idea that psychiatric disorders influence extremism is hotly contested. Meleah Lyden, Orlando Sentinel, 7 May 2022 That is particularly alarming to those who watched Trump's efforts to pressure election officials to improperly influence certification of the 2020 vote. Todd Richmond, ajc, 7 May 2022 Trump is challenging the Facebook and YouTube bans before another federal judge in northern California and Friday’s ruling could influence decisions about whether those suits are allowed to proceed. Malathi Nayak, Fortune, 6 May 2022 Today, partnering with those who have huge followings and can influence the behaviors and actions of target audiences has evolved into an impactful tactic that brands of all stripes are keen to leverage. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 5 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'influence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of influence

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

Verb

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for influence

Noun

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin influentia, from Latin influent-, influens, present participle of influere to flow in, from in- + fluere to flow — more at fluid

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Time Traveler for influence

Time Traveler

The first known use of influence was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near influence

in flower

influence

influenceability

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Statistics for influence

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Influence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/influence. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for influence

influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence | \ ˈin-ˌflü-əns How to pronounce influence (audio) \

Kids Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or power of causing an effect or change without use of direct force or authority You could move to some other part of Mexico, but … Luis's influence is far-reaching.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
2 : a person or thing that has an indirect but usually important effect She's a bad influence on him.

influence

verb
influenced; influencing

Kids Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to affect or change in an indirect but usually important way I was influenced by my parents.

influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence

Legal Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the act or power of producing an effect without any apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
2 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways
3 : one that exerts influence
under the influence
: affected by alcohol or another intoxicant was arrested for driving under the influence

Other Words from influence

influencer noun

influence

transitive verb
influenced; influencing

Legal Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to alter or affect by indirect or intangible means the exemption would allow a conglomerate that owns both a media business and an unrelated business to influence or control the mediaCitizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010)
2 : to have an effect on the condition or development of

More from Merriam-Webster on influence

Nglish: Translation of influence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of influence for Arabic Speakers

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