puissant

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adjective puis·sant \-sənt, -sənt\

Definition of puissant

  1. :  having puissance :  powerful

puissant was our Word of the Day on 10/07/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of puissant in a Sentence

  1. one of the nation's most respected and puissant advocates for the rights of minorities

Did You Know?

Puissant has some powerful ties to some more commonplace English words. Although "puissant" has a considerably fancier feel than "power" and "potent," all three words share the same Latin ancestor: posse, a verb meaning "to be able." "Power" came to us by way of Anglo-French poer, which is itself thought to have come from "potēre," a Vulgar Latin alteration of "posse." "Potent" came from "potent-, potens," a present participle of "posse." From "poer" came the adjective pussant, meaning "able" or "powerful" in Anglo-French, and English speakers borrowed that to form "puissant" in the 15th century.

15th Century

First Known Use of puissant

15th century


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