influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence | \ ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)s How to pronounce influence (audio) , especially Southern in-ˈflü- How to pronounce influence (audio) \
plural influences

Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
2a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
3 : one that exerts influence
4 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
5a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
under the influence
: affected by alcohol or drug intoxication was arrested for driving under the influence

influence

verb
influenced; influencing

Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means She attempted to influence his decision. greatly influenced by my parents
2 : to have an effect on the condition or development of Productivity was influenced by worker satisfaction.

Other Words from influence

Verb

influenceable \ ˈin-​ˌflü-​ən(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce influence (audio) \ adjective
In the situation where performance measures are not seen as influenceable, there is little chance of the person seeing a connection between his effort and his rewards. — Lyman W. Porter et al.

Synonyms for influence

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for influence

Noun

influence, authority, prestige, weight, credit mean power exerted over the minds or behavior of others. influence may apply to a force exercised and received consciously or unconsciously. used her influence to get the bill passed authority implies the power of winning devotion or allegiance or of compelling acceptance and belief. his opinions lacked authority prestige implies the ascendancy given by conspicuous excellence or reputation for superiority. the prestige of the newspaper weight implies measurable or decisive influence in determining acts or choices. their wishes obviously carried much weight credit suggests influence that arises from the confidence of others. his credit with the press

Verb

affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction. the sight affected her to tears influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior). our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming. plants touched by frost his emotions were touched by her distress impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect. only one of the plans impressed him strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation. struck by the solemnity of the occasion sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action. politicians who are swayed by popular opinion

The Surprising History of Influence and Its Modern Use

Noun

Influence may seem like a ho-hum word, but its history is heavenly.

The word first referred to a celestial fluid that was believed to flow from the stars. As this fluid reached the Earth, it supposedly affected the actions of the planet's inhabitants—especially the human ones. (The word influenza has the same origin: the Medieval Latin word influentia. It was for a time believed that epidemics were caused by unusual conjunctions of the planets.)

In modern use, the noun typically refers to the power to change or affect someone or something—especially the power to cause changes without directly forcing those changes to happen. Influence can also refer to a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way.

The noun had been in use for more than 200 years before the verb use developed. As a verb, influence typically means "to affect or change someone or something in an indirect but usually important way." Something or someone that influences a person or thing, then, has an influence on that person or thing.

Examples of influence in a Sentence

Noun Recent years have seen a decline in the company's influence within the industry. Her ideas have gradually gained influence in the company. He used his influence to reform the company's policies. She has remained under the influence of her parents. She claims that her personal problems played no influence upon her decision to resign. His health problems may have had some influence on his decision. Her parents still have a great deal of influence over her. The chairman wields considerable influence over the board's decisions. Her parents are concerned that her new friends may have a bad influence on her. Emily Dickinson has had a major influence on his poetry. Verb I was deeply influenced by my parents. She claims that her decision to resign was not influenced by her personal problems. No one knows how this decision will influence the outcome of the election. He's accused of illegally attempting to influence the jury. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The woman driving the vehicle was detained under suspicion of driving under the influence, according to Graves. Jose R. Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, 18 Sep. 2022 The officer arrested him on a charge of operating under the influence. Cheryl Higley, cleveland, 17 Sep. 2022 Driving under the influence is also a permanent stain. oregonlive, 16 Sep. 2022 Now a 19-year-old man who was allegedly driving the cart under the influence has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Corin Cesaric, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2022 Artin Khatchik, 47, of the 9000 block of Birch Avenue, Morton Grove, was charged September 2 with driving under the influence, no driver’s license on person and improper stop. Chicago Tribune, 13 Sep. 2022 An Alabama prison warden is retiring after being arrested for driving under the influence. Fox News, 9 Sep. 2022 Cheyenne McMullen, the driver of the car and the boy’s mother, is being held on $25,000 bail for charges of felony first-degree assault and misdemeanor driving under the influence, according to the charges. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2022 Ryan was also charged with driving under the influence at Fort Bragg in July, according to court documents. CBS News, 9 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb More than 30 people associated with former President Donald Trump and alleged efforts to influence the 2020 election results have received federal grand jury subpoenas, four sources told CBS News. CBS News, 12 Sep. 2022 It’s China’s most direct foray into the South Pacific to date, a region Beijing previously sought to influence primarily via trade and investment. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 30 Aug. 2022 Warren soon tired of his colleague’s efforts to influence and cajole. John Fabian Witt, The New Republic, 26 Aug. 2022 There is something slightly odd but perfectly logical about former President Donald Trump’s trip to Waukesha on Friday in his effort to influence the outcome of Wisconsin’s GOP primary for governor. Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 These social platforms remain meaningful and campaigns will still use them to influence and persuade voters even if there’s been sort of a souring in some quarters of the political set on their use. Brad Adgate, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Host Laura Krantz argues that pop culture continues to influence — mostly negatively — the public’s perception of nuclear power at a time when the world, reeling from the effects of climate change, is desperate for clean energy. Mark Shanahan, BostonGlobe.com, 22 June 2022 The race was among a handful of contests held Tuesday at the midpoint of a primary season that has been shaped by Trump’s effort to influence the GOP. Jill Colvin And Kim Chandler, Chicago Tribune, 22 June 2022 The race was among a handful of contests held Tuesday at the midpoint of a primary season that has been shaped by Trump’s effort to influence the GOP. Jill Colvin And Kim Chandler, Anchorage Daily News, 22 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'influence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of influence

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

Verb

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for influence

Noun

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin influentia, from Latin influent-, influens, present participle of influere to flow in, from in- + fluere to flow — more at fluid

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Time Traveler for influence

Time Traveler

The first known use of influence was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near influence

in flower

influence

influenceability

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Statistics for influence

Last Updated

20 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Influence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/influence. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for influence

influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence | \ ˈin-ˌflü-əns How to pronounce influence (audio) \

Kids Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or power of causing an effect or change without use of direct force or authority You could move to some other part of Mexico, but … Luis's influence is far-reaching.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
2 : a person or thing that has an indirect but usually important effect She's a bad influence on him.

influence

verb
influenced; influencing

Kids Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to affect or change in an indirect but usually important way I was influenced by my parents.

influence

noun
in·​flu·​ence

Legal Definition of influence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the act or power of producing an effect without any apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
2 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways
3 : one that exerts influence
under the influence
: affected by alcohol or another intoxicant was arrested for driving under the influence

Other Words from influence

influencer noun

influence

transitive verb
influenced; influencing

Legal Definition of influence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to alter or affect by indirect or intangible means the exemption would allow a conglomerate that owns both a media business and an unrelated business to influence or control the mediaCitizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010)
2 : to have an effect on the condition or development of

More from Merriam-Webster on influence

Nglish: Translation of influence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of influence for Arabic Speakers

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