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

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 People with obesity are often blamed for their weight and are stigmatized as lazy or lacking in willpower. Paige Hagy, Fortune Well, 1 Aug. 2023 The only question was whether Boston would have enough time, energy and willpower to find its best self. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 26 May 2023 In a statement published in The Hollywood Reporter, Bassett praised Turner’s willpower and courage for telling her story in her 1986 memoir, I, Tina, which served as the basis for the movie. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 24 May 2023 Fighting for the willpower not to care who is watching. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2023 The steep hill will test your willpower, so get your practice runs in beforehand if possible. Dakota Kim, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2023 However, fixing those concerns may take more than individual willpower, Freeman said. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 27 Apr. 2023 They were engineered to override ordinary human willpower and — surprise, surprise! Tamar Haspel, Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2023 This is a show about a group of people who decided to do something, and accomplished that through ingenuity, willpower, and a fair amount of Gold’s trust fund. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'willpower.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of willpower was in 1850

Dictionary Entries Near willpower

Cite this Entry

“Willpower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willpower. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


will·​pow·​er ˈwil-ˌpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce willpower (audio)
: strong determination
the temptation tested her willpower

More from Merriam-Webster on willpower

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