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 The willpower needed to accomplish greatly isn’t that of superheroes. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "New skill or project? The more you do it, the easier it becomes," 18 Jan. 2020 Of course, Amazon rolls out truckloads of deals every day, so even those of us with the strongest willpower often cave to their amazing discounts. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Tuesday," 14 Jan. 2020 But the low success rate doesn't really reflect a collective lack of willpower. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, "Today’s The Official Day To Ditch Your Stupid Resolutions," 17 Jan. 2020 But Ellis wants to put the ownership of health back on the citizens to make good choices like eating low or no carbohydrates because many people don’t have the willpower to stop at a healthy portion once that bread crosses their lips. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County building Department of Economic Opportunity and Equity," 31 Oct. 2019 Lack of willpower or self-control is the top cited reason for not following through. Jelena Kecmanovic, Quartz, "Rules for resolutions: 7 ways to make commitments you’ll keep," 31 Dec. 2019 Lack of willpower or self-control is the top cited reason for not following through. Jelena Kecmanovic, The Conversation, "7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year’s resolutions," 17 Dec. 2019 Compulsive eaters—sometimes dismissed as lacking willpower or discipline—can have every bit the battle on their hands that drug addicts do. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Food Addictions Are Real Addictions—And More And More People Are Getting Hooked," 6 Nov. 2019 The possibility that all weakness could be hushed through sheer force of willpower was an imperative that Sontag suffered under for her entire life. Leslie Jamison, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Susan Sontag," 12 Sep. 2019

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

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Willpower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willpower. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for willpower


How to pronounce willpower (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on willpower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for willpower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with willpower

Spanish Central: Translation of willpower

Nglish: Translation of willpower for Spanish Speakers

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