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

Inside is powdered activated charcoal to absorb any potential leakage. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How the Experts Identify Chemical Weapons and Prove an Attack," 7 Aug. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then, participants were randomized—one quarter in the placebo group, set to receive a powder identical to the treatment but with no peanut protein, and three-quarters set to receive the treatment. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Some promising news for kids with peanut allergies," 23 Nov. 2018 The drug, called AR101, is made from peanut flour and given as a powder mixed in with other foods. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Experimental Drug Shows Promise Protecting Against Peanut Allergies," 18 Nov. 2018 Suggested serving: While the body has the ability to process up to 30 grams of protein every few hours, Dr. Bowe suggests tossing one tablespoon of a collagen powder into a smoothie, coffee, or soup. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "5 Anti-Aging Supplements That May Actually Work," 16 Oct. 2018 She's also shared the names of some of her favorite beauty products, with a bronzing powder by Bobbi Brown and a mascara by Charlotte Tilbury landing spots at the top of her list. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "How Will Princess Eugenie Wear Her Makeup on Her Wedding Day?," 13 July 2018 Using a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron to a fine powder and set aside. Nik Sharma, SFChronicle.com, "A Brown Kitchen: Mango layer cake for a fresh summer treat," 11 July 2018 The Center City store carries everything from whole roasted mealworms to peanut-butter-and-chocolate cricket protein bars to mealworm coconut brittle to insect protein powder. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Beyond bugs: 12 unique (and strange) ingredients at Mom's Organic Market and what to do with them," 16 May 2018 In the victim’s car were three small plastic bags holding a brown powder that appeared to heroin, police said. Jeremy C. Fox, BostonGlobe.com, "Man arrested after alleged carjacking in downtown Boston," 16 May 2018 In addition, three pill capsules with a tannish powder were also found on him in a leather pouch around his neck. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man with knife drives on sidewalk and grass in Cudahy because he thought it was a road," 9 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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Statistics for powder

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on powder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with powder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for powder

Spanish Central: Translation of powder

Nglish: Translation of powder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of powder for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about powder

Comments on powder

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a nest or breeding place

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