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.

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Other Words from influence

Verb

influenceable \ ˈin-​ˌflü-​ən(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce influenceable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After making contact with the driver, the officer suspected that the driver was under the influence. Cheryl Higley, cleveland, "Work vehicle stolen: Avon Lake Police Blotter," 15 Feb. 2020 Police said George was found to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested on a charge of intoxication assault. Dana Branham, Dallas News, "Man suspected of driving drunk after crash leaves victim in critical condition in Far North Dallas, police say," 13 Feb. 2020 Simonyan had already heard these sorts of sentences spoken by alcohol-responsive patients under the influence of sodium oxybate. Eric Boodman, STAT, "The vodka trial: In search of a treatment for vocal disorders, a researcher puts patient anecdotes to the test," 10 Feb. 2020 Read this: Bullitt County man dies after being assaulted, suspect armed and dangerous Partain was arrested and charged with first degree wanton endangerment, first degree domestic violence assault, careless driving and driving under the influence. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Shelby County man beat and bloodied wife while driving intoxicated, police say," 10 Feb. 2020 Criminal traffic offenses like criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, second-degree murder (Alaska does not have a vehicular homicide statute) and driving under the influence do not count toward the scofflaw list. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Program targeting traffic-fine scofflaws is unfair and should be repealed, Anchorage ombudsman says," 7 Feb. 2020 Based on new data crunched in their climate model, the paper authors argue that CFCs are likely what's caused the Arctic to warm even faster than the rest of the planet under the influence of climate change. Lynn Johnson, National Geographic, "What's the ozone hole got to do with warming?," 5 Feb. 2020 Washington state authorities echoed Nelson's sentiment, with dash-camera video showing police encounters with drivers under the influence of THC becoming more common. CBS News, "Number of stoned drivers in deadly crashes more than doubled in Washington since 2012, AAA says," 1 Feb. 2020 Since 2017, mainly under the influence of Michael Gove, Johnson’s wingman during the referendum, the country has committed itself to an ambitious environmental agenda. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "What Will Brexit Britain Be Like?," 31 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The winner influences the direction the Cowboys and all of those teams not in South Florida will travel next season. David Moore, Dallas News, "Super Bowl LIV will feature two very different offensive identities. Now, the Cowboys must find theirs.," 1 Feb. 2020 Last year 4% of consumers said that hair care positioned for their gender influenced their purchase, down from 9% in 2016, according to market-researcher Euromonitor. Ellen Byron, WSJ, "Does Your Razor Need a Gender?," 1 Feb. 2020 But in terms of influencing the presidential nomination race, the caucuses have never really been about delegates. Matt Stevens, New York Times, "How Will the Winner of the Iowa Caucuses Be Chosen? Here’s What You Should Know," 1 Feb. 2020 The addition of nutrients or oxygen-poor waters may subtly influence which species dominate in aquatic communities, or perhaps even increase the total species diversity by creating variable habitats within the river, some researchers suggest. National Geographic, "Could Pablo Escobar's escaped hippos help the environment?," 31 Jan. 2020 USA TODAY Kobe Bryant has influenced not only basketball stars across the globe, but also proud fathers everywhere. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "ESPN anchor's story on 'girl dad' Kobe Bryant generates wave of social media tributes," 30 Jan. 2020 What's on your credit report influences your credit score. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Credit scores could take a hit under new, tougher standards: How to protect yours," 29 Jan. 2020 Of course, successfully growing more than one harvest of crops is also influenced by air temperature. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s why a soil thermometer is a must for your Alaska garden this year," 24 Jan. 2020 Of course, other factors like winds, or weather, will influence how much fuel the plane needs or consumes. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Planes dump fuel into the sky more than you’d expect. Here’s why they do it.," 24 Jan. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for influence

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Influence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/influence. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for influence

influence

noun
How to pronounce influence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the power to change or affect someone or something : the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen
: a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way

influence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to affect or change (someone or something) in an indirect but usually important way : to have an influence on (someone or something)

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,
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

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