influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence | \ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)s, 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 \ 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.
influencer noun plural influencers
The old theme of laziness and mellowness runs counter to today's influencers, who are businesspeople and upscale inspirational promoters of a go-getter way of life. — John C. Dvorak

Synonyms for influence

Synonyms: Noun

authority, clout, credit, heft, in, juice [slang], leverage, pull, sway, weight

Synonyms: Verb

affect, impact, impress, move, reach, strike, sway, tell (on), touch

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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

The crisis training focuses on both mental health and drugs, including how to identify warning signs that someone is under the influence of drugs. Alexis Stevens, The Seattle Times, "Georgia tallies meth’s toll: Nearly 20 percent of those killed by police in state test positive for it," 20 Nov. 2018 If so, there’s at least one person in your game playing under the influence of space cookies. Jason Gay, WSJ, "27 More Rules of Thanksgiving Family Touch Football," 19 Nov. 2018 Hevel was originally charged with manslaughter, felony endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Former Navajo Nation police officer sentenced to 16 years in prison for fatal DUI crash," 14 July 2018 And a document from November 2002 shared by the House Rules Committee says speeding tickets — as well as violations for driving under the influence — aren’t covered. Washington Post, "Arizona lawmaker apologizes after video shows 140 mph brag," 12 July 2018 But others had lesser charges, such as driving under the influence. NBC News, "Feds won't say if they will reunite kids with deported parents," 12 July 2018 The officer asked if Moore was under the influence. Nichole Manna, star-telegram, "Graham police release video of officers using stun gun on teen with autism," 12 July 2018 Cardinals general manager Steve Keim originally identified himself as the team's director of security when he was cited for driving under the influence on July 4 in Chandler, Arizona, reports The Arizona Republic. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Report: Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim Lied About Identity During DUI Stop," 11 July 2018 Another had a conviction for fraud by impersonation and a record of driving under the influence. Nomaan Merchant, Cincinnati.com, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Scientists aren’t yet sure exactly how all of those factors combine to influence the invisible ecosystems that call our bodies home. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Medieval dental plaque sheds light on how our microbiomes have changed," 25 Nov. 2018 On Friday, the U.S. announced criminal charges against a Russian for alleged attempts to influence next month's midterm elections. Fox News, "Bolton faces tense talks with Russia over nuclear treaty," 22 Oct. 2018 The weak force also plays a role in how stars fuse hydrogen into helium atoms, which can influence how bright, hot, large and long-lived stars are. Charles Q. Choi, Space.com, "Why Alternate Universes Might Also Host Life Around their Stars," 26 Sep. 2018 It should be noted that most of these elements have been present in numerous other recent K-pop groups — most notably Big Bang, which probably influenced BTS more than any other K-pop group. Aja Romano, Vox, "BTS, the band that changed K-pop, explained," 24 Aug. 2018 The iconic musician is remembered as the Queen of Soul, whose profound legacy will continue to influence the music industry for generations. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Aretha Franklin's Most Iconic Quotes of All Time," 16 Aug. 2018 In 2004, the Prince of Wales founded Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) to influence financial leaders to make changes in their businesses that would help contribute to a stable economy. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "A Rare Look Inside Prince Charles's Surprisingly Lonely and Heartbreaking Childhood," 16 Aug. 2018 One way of answering that question is to consider the simmering controversy surrounding the original Vaporfly 4%, which may have influenced the latest IAAF ruling. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "Is it Fair for Runners to Compete in Prototypes?," 10 July 2018 Trump is already portraying the nomination fight as a referendum on his leadership, which could also influence how the issue is perceived among voters. NBC News, "The vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick spells danger for this Democratic senator," 1 July 2018

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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Statistics for influence

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for influence

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

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More Definitions for influence

influence

noun

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 \

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 Commʼn, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010)

2 : to have an effect on the condition or development of

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