pow·der | \ˈpau̇-dər \
powdered; powdering\ˈpau̇-d(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of powder 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to sprinkle or cover with or as if with powder

2 : to reduce or convert to powder

3 : to hit very hard

intransitive verb

1 : to become powder

2 : to apply cosmetic powder


noun, often attributive

Definition of powder (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : matter in a finely divided state : particulate matter

2a : a preparation in the form of fine particles especially for medicinal or cosmetic use

b : fine dry light snow

3 : any of various solid explosives used chiefly in gunnery and blasting


geographical name
Pow·der | \ˈpau̇-dər \

Definition of Powder (Entry 3 of 3)

1 river 150 miles (241 kilometers) long in eastern Oregon flowing into the Snake River

2 river 375 miles (604 kilometers) long in northern Wyoming and southeastern Montana flowing north into the Yellowstone River

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Other Words from powder


powderer \ˈpau̇-dər-ər \ noun


powderless \ˈpau̇-dər-ləs \ adjective
powderlike \ˈpau̇-dər-ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of powder in a Sentence


She powdered her face and put on lipstick. you have to powder the antibiotic tablet and mix it with food


The powder is made from the roots of the plant. Mix together the different powders. She crushed the peppercorns into a fine powder. We're running low on baby powder and diapers. We woke this morning to several inches of fresh powder on the ground.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The tariffs cover a wide variety of cheeses, including grated and powdered. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "How Trump's trade war is hurting California's largest agricultural sector," 8 June 2018 Image On a recent April morning, the developer Mark Gordon stood in a just-finished guest room in his Moxy Downtown hotel in Lower Manhattan, plaster dust powdering his black pants. Jane Margolies, New York Times, "Drawing a Younger Crowd to Lower Manhattan," 22 May 2018 Then, Cheng followed up the cream shadow with the Chanel Ombre Première Longwear Powder Eyeshadow In Poudre d’Or, a gold powdered shadow. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Yara Shahidi's Makeup Artist Reveals Her Body-Highlighting Secrets for the Met Gala 2018," 7 May 2018 Other seasonings used to in this dish are powdered rosemary and porcini powder. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Spice savvy: These 7 trendy seasonings will add pizzazz to your cooking," 27 Feb. 2018 That year, more than 13 inches powdered the ground. San Antonio Express-News, "Snow and then: Photos from South Texas' memorable snowfalls," 9 Dec. 2017 Delish reports that a German consumer group found that the quantities of powdered skimmed milk in Nutella had increased from 7.5% to 8.7%, while the sugar content rose from 55.9% to 56.3%. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Alert! Nutella Changed Its Recipe," 8 Nov. 2017 Will China’s toilet revolution flush away the country’s reputation as an outmoded place to powder your nose? Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "China Will Transform 100,000 Toilets for the Sake of Tourism," 10 Jan. 2017 Then on fourth down, the Giants finally ran the ball up the middle – and went backward, with Orleans Darkwa getting his behind powdered by the entire Eagles defense. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Doug Pederson calls a head-scratcher | Bob Ford," 24 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To make broccoli coffee, the vegetable is dried, ground into a fine powder, and scooped into your coffee. Blake Bakkila, Health.com, "Is Broccoli Coffee the Next Popular Health Food Trend?," 8 June 2018 There, bile extracted from bears, in processes involving considerable pain, infection and disease, is baked into powder and sold in a range of products - including eye gel and toothpaste - freely available in pharmacies. Author: Simon Denyer, Anchorage Daily News, "From hemorrhoids to hangovers: Bear bile is treasured in China, and that’s bad for captive bears," 3 June 2018 Tea made from coca leaves ground into powder is a legal, traditional drink in the Andean region and is used as a light stimulant like coffee or to counter the effects of altitude sickness. Adriana Leon, latimes.com, "Wave of anger spreads across Peru after star soccer player's coca tea leads to World Cup ban," 16 May 2018 Sneak them into the food processor with cocoa powder and whip up a creamy mousse dessert in less than 5 minutes. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keep your cool: No-heat cooking keeps you comfortable and the food fresh," 5 July 2018 Dust the tops with cocoa powder and garnish with banana slices and espresso beans. Fox News, "Justin Warner is cooking with Post Dream Cereals," 30 June 2018 Another dude wore a ribbed powder-blue grandpa cardigan with matching leggings and a Gucci purse. Masculine? Emily Farra, Vogue, "The 8 Street-Style Trends We Saw Outside the Spring 2019 Menswear Shows in Europe," 28 June 2018 But a side of elote (corn) was distinctive, seasoned with Cajun spice along with chile powder and topped with plenty of lime and cilantro. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "A life of love and tamales: Virgie Martinez retires from backyard landmark Mi Cocinita," 26 June 2018 The dining room is clad in French powder-blue oak paneling, with a cloud mural by the family portrait artist on the ceiling. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "A New York Socialite’s Extravagant Estate on Sale for $30 Million," 24 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for powder


Middle English poudre, from Anglo-French pudre, podre, from Latin pulver-, pulvis dust; probably akin to Sanskrit palāva chaff

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Time Traveler for powder

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

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More Definitions for powder



English Language Learners Definition of powder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put powder on (your face or body)



English Language Learners Definition of powder (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dry substance made up of very tiny pieces of something

: a very fine, dry substance that is put on your body or face especially to make it dry or less shiny

: snow that is very light and dry


pow·der | \ˈpau̇-dər \
powdered; powdering

Kids Definition of powder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to sprinkle or cover with or as if with fine particles of something The cookies were powdered with sugar.

2 : to reduce or change to powder



Kids Definition of powder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a dry substance made up of fine particles The stone was crushed into powder.

2 : something (as a food, medicine, or cosmetic) made in or changed to the form of a powder garlic powder

3 : gunpowder


pow·der | \ˈpau̇d-ər \

Medical Definition of powder 

: a product in the form of discrete usually fine particles specifically : a medicine or medicated preparation in the form of a powder antiseptic powder digestive powder

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Comments on powder

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


one that holds something together

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