pow·​er·​ful | \ˈpau̇(-ə)r-fəl \

Definition of powerful 

1 : having great power, prestige, or influence a powerful leader

2 : leading to many or important deductions a powerful set of postulates

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from powerful

powerfully \ ˈpau̇(-​ə)r-​f(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of powerful in a Sentence

The country is becoming more and more powerful. powerful drugs that attack cancer cells The cash bonus provides a powerful incentive to workers. The perfume has a powerful smell. It's a very powerful movie. The dog has a powerful body. She has a powerful voice. The weapons are very powerful. The aardvark uses its powerful claws to dig for food.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite that power-demanding leap, Apple says the Air’s 12-hour battery life remains about the same – and superior to the more powerful MacBook Pro that costs $100 more. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple redesigns the iPad Pro, breathes new life in the MacBook Air," 30 Oct. 2018 Distance and diaspora can create even more powerful bonds, but that was not the case for me. Rawiya Kameir, Vogue, "Does Citizenship Shape Identity? A “Third-Culture” Writer Takes Stock," 19 Oct. 2018 That left the 600-hp BMW M5 and the less powerful but equally intriguing Kia Stinger GT to represent mid-size performance four-doors. Car and Driver, "Lightning Lap 2018: Where the Track Tells the Truth," 26 Sep. 2018 Some of the earlier and most powerful Westerners to arrive here were the Sassoons, a family of Baghdadi Jews who eventually came to control large swaths of not only the shipping trade but the real estate business as well. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018 Research in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that the threat of losing something, like money, is a more powerful motivator than the promise of earning a future prize. Aviva Patz And Karyn Repinski, Woman's Day, "10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure," 20 Aug. 2018 Just like in the original Hong Kong-set Ten Years and Ten Years Thailand, the most powerful and affecting on-screen prophecies are the ones who most closely resemble the lives and predicaments of the here and now. Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ten Years Taiwan': Film Review," 13 July 2018 Soon, though, a tech starts driving a cherrypicker toward PseudOrion, preparing to replace this motor with a more powerful one that produces a lower frequency. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double," 12 July 2018 Try Avène’s TriAcnéal, an intense blend of retinaldehyde (a form of vitamin A that’s more potent than retinol, but not as powerful as a prescription) and glycolic acid. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Is This Vitamin the Secret to Smooth Skin?," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'powerful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of powerful

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about powerful

Statistics for powerful

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for powerful

The first known use of powerful was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for powerful



English Language Learners Definition of powerful

: having the ability to control or influence people or things

: having a strong effect on someone or something

: having or producing a lot of physical strength or force


pow·​er·​ful | \ˈpau̇-ər-fəl \

Kids Definition of powerful

: full of or having power, strength, or influence powerful magnets a powerful speech

Other Words from powerful

powerfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on powerful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for powerful

Spanish Central: Translation of powerful

Nglish: Translation of powerful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of powerful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on powerful

What made you want to look up powerful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!