power

noun, often attributive
pow·er | \ˈpau̇(-ə)r \

Definition of power 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : ability to act or produce an effect

(2) : ability to get extra-base hits

(3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect

b : legal or official authority, capacity, or right

2a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others

b : one having such power specifically : a sovereign state

c : a controlling group : establishment often used in the phrase the powers that be

d archaic : a force of armed men

e chiefly dialectal : a large number or quantity

3a : physical might

b : mental or moral efficacy

c : political control or influence

4 powers plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy

5a : 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

b : cardinal number sense 2

6a : a source or means of supplying energy especially : electricity

b : motive power

c : the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred

9 : the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true

power

verb
powered; powering; powers

Definition of power (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to supply with power and especially motive power

2 : to give impetus to

intransitive verb

1 : to move about by means of motive power

2 : to move with great speed or force

power

adjective

Definition of power (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : operated mechanically or electrically rather than manually a car with power locks power tools

2 : of, relating to, or utilizing strength plays a power game also : powerful sense 1 a power critic

3 : of, relating to, or being a meal at which influential people discuss business or politics a power lunch

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Synonyms & Antonyms for power

Synonyms: Noun

energy, force, might, muscle, potency, puissance, sinew, strength, vigor

Antonyms: Noun

impotence, impotency, powerlessness, weakness

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Choose the Right Synonym for power

Noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The city has little power over regulating the mine, which is on Maricopa County land. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Controversy in the air as Mesa homeowners decry neighboring asphalt plant’s odors," 11 July 2018 The whole point of The Handmaid’s Tale is that June has no power of her own. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "A Maddening Season Finale for The Handmaid’s Tale," 11 July 2018 Especially on issues like separation of powers, federalism, areas of religious freedom, free exercise in particular. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on why Trump appointed Judge Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 And without options, the player has little bargaining power. Andrew Brandt, SI.com, "How NFL and NBA Contracts Differ, and What NFL Players Can Do to Change It," 10 July 2018 Western powers are bankrolling the G5, a regional counterterrorism force with troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 Inspired by a series of revolutionary figures from across the African continent, the combs pay tribute to icons of feminine power. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Byredo’s New Keepsake Combs Pay Tribute to Africa’s Beloved Queens," 13 July 2018 Not coincidentally, Kaufman points out, labor unions in Wisconsin had provided essential financial support, ground troops, and organizational power to the Democratic Party. Glenn C. Altschuler, Philly.com, "'Fall of Wisconsin': Why Dems lose, and keep on losing," 13 July 2018 In Puerto Rico, the Category 4 Hurricane Maria knocked out communications and left more than 3.5 million residents without power for months while FEMA scrambled to provide food and water and restore electricity. Arelis R. Hernandez, OrlandoSentinel.com, "FEMA admits failures in Puerto Rico disaster response, after-action report reveals," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Blazars, like quasars, are distant cosmic beacons powered by supermassive black holes, which generate intense radiation and fire jets of particles from their poles. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Ghostly particle caught in polar ice ushers in new way to look at the universe," 12 July 2018 Near Narotoli, your correspondent saw a wedding and a funeral one evening, on the same street, powered by a mini-grid. The Economist, "Mini-grids could be a boon to poor people in Africa and Asia," 12 July 2018 The album’s palette also features a horn section, summoning R&B punch and jazz richness, powered by human breath. New York Times, "Dirty Projectors Find Love in Dystopian Times on ‘Lamp Lit Prose’," 11 July 2018 For the first time, children who are too young to distinguish fantasy from reality are engaging with devices powered by artificial intelligence. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Alexa: Don’t Let My 2-Year-Old Talk to You That Way," 10 July 2018 Statcast, powered by a technology called TrackMan, used a combination of high definition cameras and Doppler radar to accurately measure a range of player movements. Ben Reiter, SI.com, "Why Carlos Beltrán Was the Perfect Addition to Aid the Astros' Journey to the World Series," 9 July 2018 Electric vehicles drive differently than those powered by an internal combustion engine. Matthew Scott, Outside Online, "The Electric Jaguar I-Pace Can Go Off-Road," 9 July 2018 Most were 21 feet and powered by 40- or 50-horsepower outboards. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "At Bristol Bay, there’s a changing of the guard at the boatyard," 7 July 2018 Some have speculated that the early commitment to skimo built the machine that powered his mountain-running dominance. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

1540, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for power

Noun

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

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Statistics for power

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for power

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

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More Definitions for power

power

noun

English Language Learners Definition of power

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the ability or right to control people or things

: political control of a country or area

: a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations

power

verb

English Language Learners Definition of power (Entry 2 of 3)

: to supply (something) with power

: to move with great speed or force

power

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of power (Entry 3 of 3)

: of or relating to electrical power

: operated by using electricity rather than a person's strength

: having great strength or power

power

noun
pow·er | \ˈpau̇-ər \

Kids Definition of power

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : possession of control, authority, or influence over others

2 : a nation that has influence among other nations a foreign power

3 : the ability to act or produce an effect It's in your power to change things.

4 : the right to do something the president's powers

5 : physical might : strength The wind grew in power.

6 : the number of times as shown by an exponent that a number is used as a factor to obtain a product 103 is the third power of 10 and means 10 × 10 × 10.

7 : force or energy used to do work electric power

8 : the rate of speed at which work is done

9 : the number of times an optical instrument (as a microscope) magnifies the object viewed

power

verb
powered; powering

Kids Definition of power (Entry 2 of 2)

: to supply with a form of energy The old train was powered by coal.

power

noun
pow·er | \ˈpau̇(-ə)r \

Medical Definition of power 

1 : an inherent property or effect a drug that enhances the heart's pumping power— Kathleen Fackelmann

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power

noun
pow·er

Legal Definition of power 

1 : capability of acting or of producing an effect parties of unequal bargaining power

2a : 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

b : 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

3a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others

b : one having such power specifically : a sovereign state

c : political control or influence

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