\ ˈwēld How to pronounce wield (audio) \
wielded; wielding; wields

Definition of wield

transitive verb

1 chiefly dialectal : to deal successfully with : manage
2 : to handle (something, such as a tool) especially effectively wield a broom
3a : to exert one's authority by means of wield influence
b : to have at one's command or disposal did not wield appropriate credentials— G. W. Bonham

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Other Words from wield

wielder noun

Synonyms for wield


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Examples of wield in a Sentence

The man was wielding a gun. Can he wield a hammer? He wields a great deal of influence over his students.
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Recent Examples on the Web Nobody will be immune or exempt from the cancel culture mob as long as the media continues to wield it as a weapon to silence their critics and limit free speech, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald warned over the weekend. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, "Effort to oust California's Newsom nears key threshold," 25 Jan. 2021 Nevertheless, the courts have no role in determining how lawmakers will wield their constitutional powers. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "Trump Is No Longer President. How Will This Affect The Senate Impeachment?," 22 Jan. 2021 Specifically, with the aid of declassified documents, Pollard explores the Bureau’s campaign to spy on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.—to record his words and deeds, and, given the chance, to wield them against him. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“MLK/FBI” Forbids Us to Relax," 15 Jan. 2021 When the client’s claim is a dagger aimed at the system itself, lawyers have a responsibility to refuse to wield it. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Trump’s election lawyers should be disbarred," 14 Dec. 2020 Sensing the type of threat posed by a microbe, and the level of intensity of that threat, allows your immune system to select the right set of responses, wield them precisely, and avoid the very real danger of immune overreaction. Matthew Woodruff, The Conversation, "Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 will have side effects – that’s a good thing," 3 Dec. 2020 For years, criminal justice experts have pushed to overhaul the Justice Department’s backlogged system for vetting pardon applicants, in which prosecutors wield significant influence. Anchorage Daily News, "The cottage industry behind Trump’s pardons: How the rich and well-connected got ahead at the expense of others," 5 Feb. 2021 Still, a razor-thin Senate majority could temper Biden’s ambitions, giving budget-conscious Democrats the power to wield outsize influence over spending in areas where Republicans are unanimously opposed. Roya Wolverson, Quartz, "Biden has a $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan—and a path to achieve it," 14 Jan. 2021 With its ability to wield power in the manufacturing world thanks to the iPhone, Apple could potentially hit the ground running in a way other automotive startups might not be able to accomplish. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Report: Apple’s Electric Car Is on Track for 2024 Production," 21 Dec. 2020

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wield

Middle English welden to control, from Old English wieldan; akin to Old High German waltan to rule, Latin valēre to be strong, be worth

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Time Traveler for wield

Time Traveler

The first known use of wield was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wield

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wield.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wield. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for wield



English Language Learners Definition of wield

: to hold (something, such as a tool or weapon) in your hands so that you are ready to use it
: to have and use (power, influence, etc.)


\ ˈwēld How to pronounce wield (audio) \
wielded; wielding

Kids Definition of wield

1 : to use (as a tool) in an effective way The knights wielded swords.
2 : exercise entry 2 sense 1 The banker wields great influence.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wield

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wield

Nglish: Translation of wield for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wield for Arabic Speakers

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