will·​pow·​er | \ ˈwil-ˌpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce willpower (audio) \

Definition of willpower

: the ability to control one's own actions, emotions, or urges Alcoholics can't stop drinking through willpower alone: they need to alter behavior … that triggers the impulse to drink.— James Atlas I'm not talking about facing up to hard work or discipline, as if the problem were faulty willpower or a poor character.— Patricia Hampl also : strong determination that allows one to do something difficult He [Nicolas Sarkozy] … brokered a huge trade deal with China and generally signaled that he could redefine his country through sheer willpower alone. — Bruce Crumley

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Examples of willpower in a Sentence

The dessert buffet tested my willpower. He conquered his drinking problem through sheer willpower.
Recent Examples on the Web Ultimately, bringing broad, stable, and lasting changes to the system will depend on legislation and the willpower of Biden and his party. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Immigration Acid Test," 24 Feb. 2021 People who have always struggled with bodyweight management often use the New Year’s calendar as a catalyst to increase their willpower for achieving better health. Daily Health Reports, Chron, "Meticore Reviews (2021 Updated) Diet Pills Supplement with Real Ingredients or Side Effects?," 4 Feb. 2021 Another study, led by researchers at King's College London, also demonstrated how proper sleep can increase your willpower to avoid unhealthy foods. Star Tribune, "How foods may affect our sleep," 8 Jan. 2021 Moreover, Mussolini believed that any weaknesses could be overcome by sheer willpower. Washington Post, "World War II’s less-famous fascist," 31 Dec. 2020 Welcome to the club where willpower is easily manipulated by laziness and desire. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "If you added some pandemic pounds in 2020, try setting goals and changing habits in 2021," 2 Jan. 2021 Viewers are attracted to displays of sheer willpower. Mark Bergen, Bloomberg.com, "The North Carolina Kid Who Cracked YouTube’s Secret Code," 22 Dec. 2020 Transforming craft into an act of protest against indifference, against the lack of willpower to reverse or address a societal ill, is something that Mexican women, and women around the world, are familiar with. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "‘Transforming Craft Into An Act of Protest’: Embroidery In Response to Femicide in Mexico," 25 Nov. 2020 Worsening case counts have forced state leaders to reverse course on reopening, testing the patience and willpower of an exhausted American public. Nic Querolo, Bloomberg.com, "Covid Surge Quickens Across Entire U.S., Leaving No State Safe," 16 Nov. 2020

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

1850, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for willpower

Time Traveler

The first known use of willpower was in 1850

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Statistics for willpower

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Willpower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willpower. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for willpower



English Language Learners Definition of willpower

: the ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking)


will·​pow·​er | \ ˈwil-ˌpau̇-ər How to pronounce willpower (audio) \

Kids Definition of willpower

: strong determination It takes willpower to get yourself in shape.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for willpower

Nglish: Translation of willpower for Spanish Speakers

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