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 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

— see also take a powder


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

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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bathrooms were inserted into closets that were originally used to powder wigs. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Washington’s ‘oldest’ house started out in Massachusetts," 7 Nov. 2020 Only one worker at most is needed -- to spray powder manually on any edges that the robots may have missed. Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg.com, "Only Robots Can Bring Factories Back to U.S., Says Bike Pioneer," 31 Oct. 2020 Houston Chronicle stories sent directly to your inbox Being able to powder breast milk, Luck and Silvia hope, can help mitigate some of those issues. Ryan Nickerson, Chron, "New kiosk at River Oaks' Motherhood Center helps working moms keep breastfeeding," 22 Oct. 2020 With its durable steel frame and powder coat finish, this Eureka Ergonomic desk is suitable for a small study room or bedroom. Popular Science, "Narrow desks that can turn any corner into a comfortable workspace," 13 Oct. 2020 In the 17th century, some ladies would powder their faces with arsenic to achieve a more pale complexion. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "Nature's Toxic Gifts: The Deadly Story of Poison," 4 Oct. 2020 Snowflakes powdered one workout in Greenwood's Glendale driveway. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chin Up: Coronavirus is no match for a life-changing bond between football player with a brain injury and his trainer," 22 May 2020 Granite’s rough texture is ideal for grinding, powdering, or crushing spices, seeds, nuts, and more. Popular Science, "Beautiful mortars and pestles for any type of cooking," 18 Oct. 2019 Milk & Milk Alternatives: Condensed, irradiated (aseptic) or powdered milk are important staples. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "Everything you need at home if you are quarantined—and what you don’t," 12 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To a 12-ounce jar, add matcha powder and Almondmilk. Mara Weinraub, Good Housekeeping, "Want to Consume Less Dairy? Here’s What to Eat for Breakfast, According to a Nutritionist," 10 Feb. 2021 With an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, yogurt, milk, bagel seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Bagel seasoning is the MVP of this Super Bowl party dip," 8 Feb. 2021 These ingredients have been blended to form a powder and vegetable-cellulose capsules have been used to enclose it. Daily Health Reports, Chron, "Meticore Reviews (2021 Updated) Diet Pills Supplement with Real Ingredients or Side Effects?," 4 Feb. 2021 Four different packs are available, some featuring a single flavor, and some featuring mixed flavors, and all with an assortment of glaze, powder or sugar-coated options. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Where to find pączki for Fat Tuesday — or before — in Milwaukee area," 2 Feb. 2021 The Tahoe Basin is being blanketed in fresh powder as a storm that’s bringing rain to the Bay Area is dumping snow across the Sierra at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour in some places. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Photos show snow piling up at Tahoe ski resorts," 28 Jan. 2021 That's great news for Tahoe's 11 major ski areas, which have remained open all season but haven't seen much fresh powder since November. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Tahoe is about to get buried in snow, prompting ski resorts to prepare for more visitors," 26 Jan. 2021 On Saturday, the first in a series of storms was dumping powder on the Great Basin area with Park City, Utah, picking up over a foot of snow. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Atmospheric river means massive snow coming to the West," 24 Jan. 2021 Snow lovers should enjoy today's perfect powder because a late week thaw will leave things a bit mushy by next weekend. Star Tribune, "Snow Ends Saturday Night, Leaving Us With Clearing Skies Sunday," 23 Jan. 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for powder

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Powder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powder. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 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

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Comments on powder

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