1 of 3


pow·​er ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce power (audio)
often attributive
: ability to act or produce an effect
: ability to get extra-base hits
: capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect
: legal or official authority, capacity, or right
: possession of control, authority, or influence over others
: one having such power
specifically : a sovereign state
: a controlling group : establishment
often used in the phrase the powers that be
archaic : a force of armed men
chiefly dialectal : a large number or quantity
: physical might
: mental or moral efficacy
: political control or influence
powers plural : an order of angels see celestial hierarchy
: the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product
5 to the third power is 125
also : the product itself
8 is a power of 2
: a source or means of supplying energy
especially : electricity
: the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred
: the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true


2 of 3


powered; powering; powers

transitive verb

: to supply with power and especially motive power
: to give impetus to

intransitive verb

: to move about by means of motive power
: to move with great speed or force


3 of 3


: operated mechanically or electrically rather than manually
a car with power locks
power tools
: of, relating to, or utilizing strength
plays a power game
also : powerful sense 1
a power critic
: of, relating to, or being a meal at which influential people discuss business or politics
a power lunch
Choose the Right Synonym for power

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine.

power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence.

the power to mold public opinion

authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits.

granted the authority to manage her estate

jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits.

the bureau having jurisdiction over parks

control stresses the power to direct and restrain.

you are responsible for the students under your control

command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience.

the army officer in command

sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence.

the empire extended its sway over the region

dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority.

given dominion over all the animals

power, force, energy, strength, might mean the ability to exert effort.

power may imply latent or exerted physical, mental, or spiritual ability to act or be acted upon.

the awesome power of flowing water

force implies the actual effective exercise of power.

used enough force to push the door open

energy applies to power expended or capable of being transformed into work.

a worker with boundless energy

strength applies to the quality or property of a person or thing that makes possible the exertion of force or the withstanding of strain, pressure, or attack.

use weight training to build your strength

might implies great or overwhelming power or strength.

the belief that might makes right

Examples of power in a Sentence

Noun She is from a very wealthy family with a lot of social power. The company abused its power, forcing workers to work overtime without pay. The company was almost destroyed in a power struggle between its two founders. After the emperor died, power passed to his eldest son. the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president The president was removed from power in the recent uprising. The new government has taken power. The rebels rose to power several years ago. A small company with only a few products has grown to become a power in the industry. Our state is now the region's leading economic power. Verb The running back powered through the defensive line. He powered the ball past the goalie. She powered her way to the finish line. Adjective The car comes equipped with power windows. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Vindman played a role flagging the 2019 phone call between then-President Donald Trump's and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that led to Trump's first impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Alexandra Marquez, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Vasco’s roots: Colombia Palomino’s roots: Mexico Schimel’s roots: U.S. This heartfelt story celebrates the universal languages of love and understanding, woven with the invaluable power of Indigenous knowledge. Roxsy Lin, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Cabinets of curiosities encompassed the pursuit of power, beauty, learning, wealth, wonder and prestige. Anne Wallentine, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Nov. 2023 The increase in control sales suggests consumers still have some spending power left. Anne D'innocenzio, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2023 On Tuesday, photographs from hospital staff showed 36 premature babies, removed from their incubators after the fuel to power them ran out, their straining chests no wider than a bag of sugar. Meg Kelly, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 For every 100 kilowatts of peak power, an EV motor uses 1.2 kilograms of neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets on average, according to Adamas Intelligence. IEEE Spectrum, 15 Nov. 2023 Adam Johnstone, lead guitarist for Australian power pop group Romero, died on October 17. Madison Bloom, Pitchfork, 4 Nov. 2023 The power outages and ice brought with the storm caused headaches for many, according to NPR. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 3 Nov. 2023
The company makes a tiny 1.9 mm x 1.9 mm chip that can easily power its drivers. Parker Hall, WIRED, 15 Nov. 2023 SpaceX is counting on the rocket to vastly expand its constellation of Starlink internet satellites and to power eventual low-cost government and commercial flights to the moon, Mars and beyond. William Harwood, CBS News, 15 Nov. 2023 At the same time, YouTube parent company Google is pushing ahead on scraping the entire internet to power its own AI ambitions — resulting in a company that is at once writing special rules for the music industry while telling everyone else that their work will be taken for free. Mia Sato, The Verge, 14 Nov. 2023 Longview intends to use lasers powered by diodes from the semiconductor industry, a technology that can be 20 percent efficient and fire several times a second. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Looking for some motivation to help power you through the start of another work week? Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 13 Nov. 2023 Students from India powered the surge, growing in number by 35%, while those from China slightly declined but remained the largest group. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Democrats partially powered their 2020 presidential campaign on the notion that Joe Biden cast a long, collegial shadow over Washington and was just the figure to help a wayward Republican Party break the fever that had engulfed it during the Trump years. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 4 Nov. 2023 That’s why Blue Origin is proposing powering its lander with the liquid forms of hydrogen and oxygen. Talia Trackim, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023
There is both a power and a non-power option, but keep in mind that only the power option will recline; the non-power option only has an adjustable headrest. Addie Morton, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Feb. 2023 This is not a power (conference) school going against a non-power (conference). Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Mar. 2023 The Department of Commerce must bring an immediate end to this baseless investigation in order to create a sustainable, clean-power future for the nation. George Strobel, Forbes, 27 May 2022 With mega-power tensions on the rise, LHX is going to benefit from the inevitable increases in defense spending that are going to cascade across the globe. Brett Owens, Forbes, 11 Aug. 2022 Nick Saban for a decade has been an advocate for nine-game conference schedules, in part to add spice to home schedules that have for years included three non-power conference opponents. Michael Casagrande | McAsagrande@al.com, al, 25 July 2022 The Bearcats, who finished undefeated in the regular season, became the first non-power-five team to earn a spot inside the College Football Playoff committee's top four on Nov. 23. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 5 Dec. 2021 Whitford did what most folks say all Indiana's non-power conference schools should do: Load up on the best of the rest in-state players. Matthew Glenesk, The Indianapolis Star, 8 June 2022 Great to see this @CA_DWR @SolarAquaGrid @TurlockID solar-over-canal project moving from idea to proof-of-concept construction - a baby step potentially helping CA and the planet with both water and clean-power gains. Roger Bales, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'power.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French poer, pouer, from poer to be able, from Vulgar Latin *potēre, alteration of Latin posse — more at potent

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1540, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of power was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near power

Cite this Entry

“Power.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/power. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
pow·​er ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce power (audio)
: possession of control, authority, or influence over others
a politician hungry for power
: one having such power
especially : an independent state
China is a major power in Asia
: ability to act or do something
lose the power of speech
: physical might
: mental strength
: the number of times as indicated by an exponent a number occurs as a factor in a product
also : the product obtained by raising a number to a power
103, or 10·10·10, is the 3rd power of 10
: force or energy that is or can be applied to work
electric power
: the time rate at which work is done or energy given off or transferred


2 of 3 adjective
: relating to, supplying, or using power
a power drill
power failure


3 of 3 verb
: to supply with power

Medical Definition


pow·​er ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce power (audio)
: an inherent property or effect
a drug that enhances the heart's pumping powerKathleen Fackelmann

Legal Definition


: capability of acting or of producing an effect
parties of unequal bargaining power
: authority or capacity to act that is delegated by law or constitution
often used in pl.
commerce power
often capitalized C&P : the power delegated to Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to regulate commerce especially among the states see also commerce clause
concurrent power
: a power that is held simultaneously by more than one entity
specifically : a power delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution that is also held by the states
enumerated powers \ i-​ˈnü-​mə-​ˌrā-​təd-​, -​ˈnyü-​ \
: the powers specifically named and delegated to the federal government or prohibited to be exercised by the states under the U.S. Constitution compare reserved powers in this entry
executive power
: the power delegated to the executive of a government
specifically : any or all of the powers delegated to the president under Article II of the U.S. Constitution
implied power
: a power that is reasonably necessary and appropriate to carry out the purposes of a power expressly granted
especially : a power that is not specifically delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution but that is implied by the necessary and proper clause to be delegated for the purpose of carrying out the enumerated powers see also McCulloch v. Maryland
judicial power
: the power granted to the judicial branch of a government
specifically : the power delegated to the judiciary under Article III of the U.S. Constitution
legislative power
: the power delegated to a legislative branch of a government
specifically : any or all of the powers delegated to Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution
police power
: the power of a government to exercise reasonable control over persons and property within its jurisdiction in the interest of the general security, health, safety, morals, and welfare except where legally prohibited (as by constitutional provision)
reserved powers
: the political powers reserved by a constitution to the exclusive jurisdiction of a specified political authority
specifically : powers that are not expressly delegated to the federal government nor expressly prohibited to the states and are therefore left to the states under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution compare enumerated powers in this entry
spending power
: the power granted to a government body to make expenditures
specifically : the power delegated to Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the U.S.
taxing power
: the power granted to a government body to lay and collect taxes
specifically : such power delegated to Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution
war powers
: the powers delegated to the executive and legislative branches of the federal government relating to the waging of war: as
a : the power delegated to Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to declare war
b : the power delegated to the president under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to serve as commander in chief of the armed forces
: an ability, authority, or right usually conferred by one person upon another to do something that effects a change in a legal relationship
specifically : such authority or right to affect another's interest in property (as by conveyance) see also power of appointment, power of attorney
collateral power
: naked power in this entry
general power
: a power that may be exercised in favor of anyone including the donee
implied power
: the power of one acting under an implied agency
naked power
: a power (as a power of sale) granted to one who has no interest in the property to which the power relates (as an executor who is not a legatee or devisee)

called also collateral power

compare power coupled with an interest in this entry
power appendant \ -​ə-​ˈpen-​dənt \
: a power coupled with an interest (as a grant of a lease) that the donee can exercise only out of an estate (as a life estate) that he or she holds

called also power appurtenant

power coupled with an interest
: a power accompanying an interest of the donee in the property to which the power relates
power in gross
: a naked power exercisable by the donee only in the creation of estates that will not attach to the estate the donee holds or be satisfied out of the donee's own interest
power of acceptance
: the power of an offeree to bind an offeror to a contract by accepting the offer
power of modification \ -​ˌmä-​də-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən \
: a power reserved in an instrument (as one creating a trust) to make changes by a specified method
power of revocation
: a power usually reserved by a person in an instrument (as one creating a trust) to revoke the legal relationship that the person has created or made a possibility
power of sale
: a power granted (as in a will, trust, or mortgage) to sell the property to which the power relates often under specified circumstances (as upon the default of a mortgage)
power of termination
: a power of a grantor or the grantor's successors in interest to enter upon an estate that was granted upon a condition after the breach of the condition in order to terminate the granted estate and revest it in the grantor or successors in interest

called also right of entry, right of reentry

special power
: a power in which the person or class of persons to whom the disposition of property under the power is to be made is expressly designated and excludes the donee or where the power is to transfer, charge, or encumber any estate less than a fee simple
stock power
: an irrevocable power of attorney used in making a transfer of a certificate of stock
: possession of control, authority, or influence over others
: one having such power
specifically : a sovereign state
: political control or influence

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