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

Definition of willpower

: energetic determination

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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

Quitting self-harm requires much more than willpower, NAMI explains. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "5 Helpful Things to Say to a Friend Who Self-Harms (and 3 to Avoid)," 1 Mar. 2019 Get caught without your bug spray just once and the inevitable happens: red, angry, itchy mosquito bites that take nearly superhuman willpower to avoid scratching. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites and Stop Itching ASAP," 18 Mar. 2019 Take advantage of research suggesting that willpower is greatest in the morning and do the things that require self discipline, like going to the gym or doing your taxes, early in the day. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Master Your Never-Ending To-Do List," 4 Sep. 2018 Better tactics, better organization, better spirit and willpower and temperament. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Brazil is no longer the class of world soccer," 6 July 2018 Oftentimes, willpower is promoted as the only thing a person needs to improve their health. SELF, "7 Ways Experts and Influencers Can Make Their Nutrition Advice More Inclusive," 16 Oct. 2018 For instance: Don’t rely on your willpower to avoid idly picking up your phone. Kate Bachelder Odell, WSJ, "‘Atomic Habits’ and ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ Review: New Year’s Baby Steps," 31 Dec. 2018 Some people just experience fewer temptations, or have more willpower, than others. German Lopez, Vox, "Video game addiction is real, rare, and poorly understood," 6 Dec. 2018 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

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

1858, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for willpower

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for willpower

The first known use of willpower was in 1858

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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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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).


showing courage and determination

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