will·​pow·​er | \ ˈwil-ˌpau̇(-ə)r \

Definition of willpower 

: energetic determination

Keep scrolling for more

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

Teenagers need a lot of sleep, but for all of us, waking up early requires a substantial amount of willpower. Dan Ariely, WSJ, "Breaking the Snooze-Button Habit," 5 Dec. 2018 There is so much more in this world than your conscious force of willpower can even begin to grasp, Scorpio, and this can feel like a balm for your overtaxed soul. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes October 8-14," 8 Oct. 2014 For many of us, willpower may seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome. NBC News, "Why planning for failure can help you reach your goals," 29 Mar. 2018 That’s why some progressives have been expressing their general anxiety over the prospect of a Supreme Court without Ginsburg — and their resulting determination to keep her alive by way of sheer willpower — for quite some time. Aja Romano, Vox, "“Protect RBG” memes capture cultural anxiety over the Supreme Court," 9 Nov. 2018 Newsletter Sign-up Widmerpool mixes pomposity and willpower to monstrous effect. Michael Gorra, WSJ, "‘Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time’ Review: Life’s Mysterious Patterned Way," 1 Nov. 2018 And while there’s the temptation to go all out with your costume, not everyone has the time, energy, money, or willpower to get so elaborate. Cameron Glover, Allure, "11 Halloween Costumes That You Can Do With Just a Wig," 9 Oct. 2018 But what these foreign governments assume is that Congress retains the willpower to function independently, a premise Ryan has spent the last year and a half subverting daily. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 The best candidates in any service branch are able to tear up a physical training course, score well on mental aptitude tests and possess the willpower to complete long, difficult training that — for the Air Force — can run as long as three years. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "AF recruiting squadron to seek — and keep — toughest airmen," 30 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of willpower

1858, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about willpower

Statistics for willpower

Last Updated

3 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for willpower

The first known use of willpower was in 1858

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of willpower

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on willpower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with willpower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for willpower

Spanish Central: Translation of willpower

Nglish: Translation of willpower for Spanish Speakers

Comments on willpower

What made you want to look up willpower? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!