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

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 Trump administration’s top diplomat is bound for Europe this week to grapple with international competition for Arctic resources, the spread of Chinese technology, and Russian influence in both Europe and South America, including Venezuela. Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "Pompeo, Traveling to Europe, to Address Venezuela, Climate Change," 5 May 2019 The film has been cited by major directors from the Coen brothers to Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg as a significant influence in their own work. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist still resonates today," 3 Dec. 2018 From belly dancing to the country’s superb mangoes and the possible influence of Egyptian culture on ancient Greek civilization (a heated debate). Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Can Egypt Convince the World That It Is Starting Over?," 19 Mar. 2019 The drink is a riff on the Old Fashioned, inspired by Twenty Broad’s design which echoes the influence of the area's Beaux-Arts-style architectural tradition. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Designer Cocktail: Old Mr. Johnson," 23 Jan. 2019 When asked about the influence of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon on the market, Bouvier contrasted the two companies’ approaches. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "AMD's 'Raven Ridge' APU designer points to power as its next advantage," 23 Aug. 2018 From jazz and heroin, to marijuana and reggae, to whiskeys in country music, and the great range of substances in rock and roll, drugs and alcohol have had major influences on both art and artist. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 McCormick, a senior, had a major influence offensively, reaching base three times with a double, a walk and getting hit by pitch. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Max-imum effort: Max Engstrom settles down after the first inning in pitching St. Laurence past St. Rita," 11 July 2018 The female influence on the show shines through every aspect in season two: the humor, the fashion, Eve and Villanelle’s relationship to each other and their work. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Killing Eve Is Made for Women By Women, and It Shows," 8 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Consider how your beliefs are influenced by tradition. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What May’s Virgo Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 Apr. 2019 Recently the office was found attempting to influence domestic politics, contrary to its mission, and now there is speculation that Russia hacked it. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s role in the French protests has polarized observers," 11 Dec. 2018 The technology, which was originally designed for cyber warfare was repurposed to influence politics. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Cambridge Analytica Targeted L.L. Bean and Wrangler Customers in the 2016 Presidential Election," 30 Nov. 2018 Newcombe, a former quarterback, receiver and kick returner at Nebraska, who was heavily influenced in life by former Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne, commands the room. Richard Obert, azcentral, "10 new Arizona high school football coaches who could make an immediate impact," 10 July 2018 Of course, affordability and accessibility of wholesome, nutritious food is complex and influenced by a variety of structural factors. Nazima Qureshi, SELF, "Here's How a Registered Dietitian Shops and Meal Preps on a Budget," 22 Feb. 2019 The statements of the participating parties nonetheless now make clear that the Trump campaign colluded with AMI to influence the election. Alex Finley - Center For Public Integrity, Vox, "Trump got the National Enquirer to bury his secrets. Did he do the same with Putin?," 21 Dec. 2018 The way in which the planet operates, however, is influenced by its zodiac sign. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 My mom was very influenced by African, and Indian, and Asian design, by artists who inspired her like Isamu Noguchi, and spirituality and fetishes. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Remembering Cara Croninger, Artwear Jewelry Maker and “Punk to the Core”," 5 Apr. 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

13 May 2019

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 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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