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 There's no doubt, though, that Gray-Boddie's typical approach to problems — pulverize them through sheer willpower — won't work here. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 21 July 2024 These changes are not susceptible to willpower or discipline. Washington Post, 11 July 2024 Position yourself for success and happiness with a positive attitude, astute comprehension of the possibilities and the willpower to direct yourself accordingly to reach your goal. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 5 July 2024 It's looked at (like) these are weaker people who have no willpower who can't cut it. Kimi Robinson, USA TODAY, 19 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for willpower 

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 25 Jul. 2024.

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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