in·​flu·​en·​tial | \ ˌin-(ˌ)flü-ˈen(t)-shəl How to pronounce influential (audio) \

Definition of influential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: exerting or possessing influence



Definition of influential (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who has great influence

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Other Words from influential


influentially \ ˌin-​(ˌ)flü-​ˈen(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce influentially (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for influential

Synonyms: Adjective

authoritative, forceful, weighty

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Examples of influential in a Sentence


His theories have become more influential in recent years. My parents have been the most influential people in my life.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Latino vote was particularly influential in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and New Jersey, helping to swing a Senate seat and multiple congressional districts, including seven in California. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sleeping Giant: How the Latino vote could influence California and the presidency in 2020," 2 Aug. 2019 For the last three decades, the NRA has been one of the most influential special interest groups in the country. Mike Spies, ProPublica, "New Documents Raise Ethical and Billing Concerns About the NRA’s Outside Counsel," 30 July 2019 Comics and sci-fi movies, as well as Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine and Super 8 Filmmaker magazine, were very influential for me. Anna Goldwater Alexander, WIRED, "Photographer Dan Winters on His Apollo Obsession," 16 July 2019 The singer, known for her influential solo work and her role as the leader of Motown supergroup The Supremes, will perform hits from her career that spans half a century. Anne Nickoloff,, "9 things to do in Cleveland on Sunday, July 7," 7 July 2019 Endorsements from the caucus, which counts more than 50 members, could be influential in the Democratic presidential primary. CBS News, "Kamala Harris secures endorsements from two more Black Caucus members," 1 July 2019 However, while such luminaries as Kant and Goethe were never themselves caught red-handed in a massive whopper, their two most influential works hinged directly on the role of subterfuge in an enlightened society. Rebecca Schuman, Longreads, "On Truth and Lying in the Extra German Sense," 20 June 2019 Edward Said’s Orientalism is one of the most influential works of intellectual history of the postwar era. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "‘Orientalism,’ Then and Now," 20 May 2019 Consider the influential work of the sociologists Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan L. Hajnal. Reihan Salam, WSJ, "A Way Out of the Immigration Crisis," 21 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'influential.' 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 influential


1570, in the meaning defined above


1831, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for influential

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for influential

The first known use of influential was in 1570

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More Definitions for influential



English Language Learners Definition of influential

: having the power to cause changes : having influence


in·​flu·​en·​tial | \ ˌin-flü-ˈen-shəl How to pronounce influential (audio) \

Kids Definition of influential

: having the power to cause change : having influence

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Comments on influential

What made you want to look up influential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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