pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce powder (audio) \
powdered; powdering\ ˈpau̇-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce powder (audio) \

Definition of powder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 2)

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

— see also take a powder

Other Words from powder


powderer \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ər How to pronounce powder (audio) \ noun


powderless \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ləs How to pronounce powder (audio) \ adjective
powderlike \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce powder (audio) \ adjective

Examples of powder in a Sentence

Verb She powdered her face and put on lipstick. you have to powder the antibiotic tablet and mix it with food Noun 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bronzers come in various formulas—from liquid to powder to cream—but the one for you ultimately comes down to your skin type. ELLE, 22 Apr. 2022 From pencils to gel to powder; these will be the only products for your celebrity like fluffy brows. Daisy Maldonado, SELF, 30 Mar. 2022 Mills the size of phone booths grind the bugs to powder. Brittany J. Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 Syrup and butter are to sweet pancakes what podi (which translates to powder) and chutney are to these savory ones. Urmila Ramakrishnan, Bon Appétit, 24 Mar. 2022 Khan contrasts this whispery realism, meanwhile, with stark breaks to dissociative fantasy reflecting Mary’s inner turmoil: In her reveries, a ceiling cracks and crashes and floods, and the white cliffs of Dover crumble to powder. Guy Lodge, Variety, 13 Mar. 2022 Like when a mourning Slate skips throwing her ex’s clothes out the window and instead dumps his protein powder down the drain (which blows up in her face, like a cloud of smoke). Sara Butler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Mar. 2022 The big white Christmas news came for Seattle late Saturday in a region unaccustomed to powder on Dec. 25. NBC News, 27 Dec. 2021 Forecasters estimate a likely La Niña visit to this part of the country, which if true, translates to powder for days and days—until May 2022 to be precise. Stacey Lastoe, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During the interview, Mr. Muratov, a bearlike man dressed for the visit in a powder-blue suit, alternated between blunt outrage and amused disbelief. New York Times, 1 June 2022 Spread over custard and top with cocoa powder, using sieve for even dusting. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2022 Pros: The large round bottom is great for blending foundation or baking your makeup with powder. Madison Yauger, PEOPLE.com, 16 May 2022 With a gentle exfoliating powder, this exfoliator can be used daily, but those with sensitive skin should use it only once every other day. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 Paul added the gilded makeup element to the look below by combining a mixing medium with a gold powder and swiping the metallic mixture on Chlöe's eyes. Gabi Thorne, Allure, 12 May 2022 Sometimes people would come into the clinic to cast a curse; staff once caught someone with white powder trying to perform some kind of ritual. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 Head out back to the waterfront garden with your glass of natty wine and basket of crispy chicken sprinkled with vinegar powder and served with a side of ranch. Bon Appétit, 3 May 2022 For those who aren’t familiar, the slow cooker recipe uses layers of noodles, vegetables and meat along with goat's milk powder and calls for a propane torch to brown the cheese topping. Jennifer Mcclellan, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Statistics for powder

Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Powder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powder. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for powder


pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce powder (audio) \
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 How to pronounce powder (audio) \

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

Powder geographical name

Pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce Powder (audio) \

Definition of Powder

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

More from Merriam-Webster on powder

Nglish: Translation of powder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of powder for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about powder


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