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

In October, GameSpot published a list of the year’s best and most influential titles, ranging from StarCraft to Half-Life to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The biggest video games, tech news, and apocalyptic anxieties of 1998," 29 Dec. 2018 What made the brand truly innovative and influential was the intention behind everything. Michelle Lee, Allure, "Editor's Letter: How Women Reshaped the Beauty Industry in 2018," 17 Sep. 2018 Image The United Nations on Friday completed an agreement on improved ways to handle the global flow of migrants — a pact particularly notable because it was boycotted by a huge and influential member, the United States. Megan Specia, New York Times, "U.N. Agrees on Migration Pact, but U.S. Is Conspicuously Absent," 13 July 2018 The controversy comes as Jordan, an influential House conservative, is under pressure to mount a campaign to replace House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is not running for reelection. Elise Viebeck, Washington Post, "Rep. Jim Jordan schedules interview with lawyers investigating alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State University," 5 July 2018 Jordan is one of the most influential conservatives in the House. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump says he '100 percent' believes Rep. Jim Jordan's denials he knew of abuse allegations," 5 July 2018 Lane is considered the single most influential performer in 19th century dance and is credited with inventing tap. Jesse J. Holland, The Seattle Times, "Explaining the outrage: Racist history of American blackface began in the 1830s," 6 Feb. 2019 Another, even better name is USS Midway, the most influential sea battle of the 20th century, and the battle that solidified the aircraft carrier as the dominant seapower platform of the age. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Is Buying Two Carriers at Once for a Big Discount," 4 Feb. 2019 The Forbes 400 was the brainchild of Malcolm Forbes, the energetic New York businessman who spent decades building Forbes magazine, which his father had founded in 1917, into one of the world’s most influential business publications. Jonathan Greenberg, Town & Country, "How to Get a Spot Among the Billionaires on the Forbes 400 List," 15 Jan. 2019

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

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for influential

The first known use of influential was in 1570

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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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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