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

There are more than 100 such provisions giving the president access to special powers in emergencies. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Can Trump declare emergency to build his wall?," 8 Jan. 2019 Some homeowners may value backup power in areas where electricity is unreliable. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Under current policies, residential batteries increase emissions in most cases," 28 Dec. 2018 Here's a comprehensive look at every way in which Hiram has gained power in Riverdale...and beyond. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 Inspired to share the healing power of creativity with others, Amy founded Art From the Heart, an in-home crafting party business. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "How One Woman Is Using Art to Give a Voice to Those With Disabilities," 4 Dec. 2018 Ultimately, when there’s unaccountable power in the United States, there’s a constitutional revulsion. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 Often, the old communist elites hastily renamed themselves and hung onto the levers of power. Margaret Macmillan, WSJ, "1989: The Year of Unfulfilled Hopes," 28 Dec. 2018 By appealing directly to those in positions of power, teens can effect change. Tabor Wordelman, Teen Vogue, "How to Fight the Global Plastics Problem," 18 Dec. 2018 And the question remains: If tech is as focused on talent as cities are on jobs, don’t cities have bargaining power? Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Big cities courting big tech helped define 2018," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Our glutes are responsible for powering us through everything from long runs to tough strength workouts to a simple jaunt up a flight of stairs. Amy Marturana, SELF, "These 4 Butt Exercises Will Fully Work Your Glutes," 12 Oct. 2018 Essentially, the digestive process breaks most types of carbohydrates down into glucose, the most efficient form of energy, and our tissues then use glucose to power themselves on a daily basis. Colleen Stinchcombe, Redbook, "What Are Macros, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2018 Rosie Frankowski, Yeaton's teammate on the Alaska Pacific University ski team and a member of this year's U.S Olympic team, powered her way up the 3,022-foot mountain far faster than anyone. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Skiers put on a show in women’s Mount Marathon race, with Yeaton winning her rookie run," 5 July 2018 But who are the men and women powering the church behind the protest? Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know about Indianapolis' Christ Church Cathedral that put Jesus in a cage," 3 July 2018 England powered their way to an impressive 6-1 (Yes, 6-1!) win over Panama on Sunday, booking their place in the last 16 of the competition with a game to spare. SI.com, "Conundrum: Explaining How England Can Finish Top of Their WC Group With a Draw Against Belgium," 24 June 2018 Three 12-volt and one 120-volt AC power outlet (on the rear of the front console) are available for powering mobile devices. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Nissan Armada full-size SUV has plentyof room for the family, lots of technology," 17 June 2018 The family couldn't afford to run a generator to power his breathing machine. John D. Sutter, CNN, "Puerto Rico releases records of deaths since Hurricane Maria to CNN and another news organization," 12 June 2018 The houses to be built on the property will have zero net impact on the environment—even the front gates will be solar-powered. Corynne Cirilli, Town & Country, "The Luxury Bay Area Neighborhood That's Giving San Francisco a Run for Its Money," 29 May 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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Learn More about power

Statistics for power

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on power

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with power

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for power

Spanish Central: Translation of power

Nglish: Translation of power for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of power for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about power

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