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 To paint the picture as Art was so apt to do in his later years, America was on the cusp of the Great Depression and the world was stirring for its second Great War-indispensable influences on the life of a budding boy. courant.com, "Arthur Wider," 5 Nov. 2019 The snipers are among about 200 Russian fighters who have arrived in Libya in the last six weeks, part of a broad campaign by the Kremlin to reassert its influence across the Middle East and Africa. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Russian Snipers, Missiles and Warplanes Try to Tilt Libyan War," 5 Nov. 2019 The meeting allows Southeast Asian leaders to deal as a bloc with the world’s major powers, leveraging their influence in making security and trade arrangements. BostonGlobe.com, "The war of words took place at the annual summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, hosted this year by Thailand. The meeting allows Southeast Asian leaders to deal as a bloc with the world’s major powers, leveraging their influence in making security and trade arrangements.," 5 Nov. 2019 In terms of its influence, The Economist has long been a publication like no other. Pankaj Mishra, The New Yorker, "Liberalism According to The Economist," 4 Nov. 2019 The protesters, who are mostly from Shiite areas of Iraq, have also sacked the offices of pro-Iranian political parties, challenging more than a decade in which Tehran has sought to increase its influence in Baghdad. Seth J. Frantzman, National Review, "Iraqi Unrest Flares Up Again," 1 Nov. 2019 As the Rajneeshees exerted their influence in the area, many Oregonians were alarmed at the commune members’ free-wheeling behavior and the guru’s habit of riding in Rolls-Royces, among other things. oregonlive, "Ma Anand Sheela, of Oregon’s Rajneesh saga and ‘Wild Wild Country’ fame, will star in new Netflix documentary," 1 Nov. 2019 Its rulers’ influence extended across the Ryukyu Islands, to which Okinawa belongs, until 1879, when the islands were annexed by Japan. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Fire Ravages Japanese Heritage Site Shuri Castle," 31 Oct. 2019 Alec credits artists like Eminem, John Mayer and Paul Simon as some of his influences. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "8 Facts About Alec Benjamin That Will Make You Want to Play His Music Non-stop," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mitigation decisions are also influenced by economic factors like cost-benefit ratios and funding availability. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "Rich Residents Build Defenses Against Rising Seas; Poor Ones Leave," 8 Nov. 2019 All signs point to one unsurprising source that's influencing our Halloween shopping habits: social media. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Meet the Women Spending Hundreds on Halloween Makeup," 31 Oct. 2019 They are charged with of aiding and abetting Lewis in committing her crimes, with offering her money and other items for the purpose of corruptly influencing official action. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Birmingham water board member guilty on ethics charges," 30 Oct. 2019 And in a delightfully unexpected turn of events, he's influenced others. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Young Thug lacks style, Machine Gun Kelly lacks substance, at Eagles Ballroom show in Milwaukee," 28 Oct. 2019 The Stones were also heavily influenced by the likes of Muddy and Robert Johnson, but always gave those guys props. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Marvin Lewis' legacy in Cincinnati improves with every Bengals loss," 23 Oct. 2019 He was influenced by Maurizio Sarri and his use of winger Dries Mertens as a withdrawn forward in his fluent Napoli sides between 2015-18. SI.com, "Roberto Mancini's New-Look Italy are Ready to Win Euro 2020," 15 Oct. 2019 The ruling is likely to color a national election on Nov. 10, Spain's fourth in four years, scheduled for Nov. 10, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement. NBC News, "Spain jails leaders of Catalan independence bid for sedition," 14 Oct. 2019 Technology is influencing the culture of your workplace. Doug Claffey, ExpressNews.com, "How is technology changing your workplace culture?," 10 Oct. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

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
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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