pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce powder (audio) \
powdered; powdering\ ˈpau̇-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce powder (audio) \

Definition of powder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to sprinkle or cover with or as if with powder
2 : to reduce or convert to powder
3 : to hit very hard

intransitive verb

1 : to become powder
2 : to apply cosmetic powder


noun, often attributive

Definition of powder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : matter in a finely divided state : particulate matter
2a : a preparation in the form of fine particles especially for medicinal or cosmetic use
b : fine dry light snow
3 : any of various solid explosives used chiefly in gunnery and blasting

— see also take a powder

Other Words from powder


powderer \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ər How to pronounce powder (audio) \ noun


powderless \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ləs How to pronounce powder (audio) \ adjective
powderlike \ ˈpau̇-​dər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce powder (audio) \ adjective

Examples of powder in a Sentence

Verb She powdered her face and put on lipstick. you have to powder the antibiotic tablet and mix it with food Noun The powder is made from the roots of the plant. Mix together the different powders. She crushed the peppercorns into a fine powder. We're running low on baby powder and diapers. We woke this morning to several inches of fresh powder on the ground. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bronzers come in various formulas—from liquid to powder to cream—but the one for you ultimately comes down to your skin type. ELLE, 22 Apr. 2022 From pencils to gel to powder; these will be the only products for your celebrity like fluffy brows. Daisy Maldonado, SELF, 30 Mar. 2022 Mills the size of phone booths grind the bugs to powder. Brittany J. Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 Syrup and butter are to sweet pancakes what podi (which translates to powder) and chutney are to these savory ones. Urmila Ramakrishnan, Bon Appétit, 24 Mar. 2022 Khan contrasts this whispery realism, meanwhile, with stark breaks to dissociative fantasy reflecting Mary’s inner turmoil: In her reveries, a ceiling cracks and crashes and floods, and the white cliffs of Dover crumble to powder. Guy Lodge, Variety, 13 Mar. 2022 Like when a mourning Slate skips throwing her ex’s clothes out the window and instead dumps his protein powder down the drain (which blows up in her face, like a cloud of smoke). Sara Butler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Mar. 2022 The big white Christmas news came for Seattle late Saturday in a region unaccustomed to powder on Dec. 25. NBC News, 27 Dec. 2021 Forecasters estimate a likely La Niña visit to this part of the country, which if true, translates to powder for days and days—until May 2022 to be precise. Stacey Lastoe, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Plus, the alloy frame is powder-coated for weather resistance and held up by stainless steel legs that won't rust. Daria Smith, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 May 2022 The bundle includes four professional-level foundation, brow, powder, and eye brushes for a flawless finish. Tiffany Dodson And Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 11 May 2022 All pieces feature black tubular steel frames that are powder-coated to prevent rust. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, maple syrup, sugar, oil, chili crisp, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 To control shine, dust translucent powder across the forehead, sides of the nose, and on the chin with a powder puff. Allure, 3 May 2022 The report attributed the growth to fund managers’ increased appetite to deploy capital in Africa after sitting on ‘dry powder’ for more than one year. Tom Collins, Quartz, 25 Apr. 2022 Harmony of Pearls begins with a foot ritual that includes pearl powder and frankincense, a relaxing exfoliation, a massage featuring argan oil and a facial using rose extracts. Sherrie Nachman, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 They were also discovered in various forms, including powder, solid substance, liquid from syringes and residues, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Laboratory Division said. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of powder


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for powder


Middle English poudre, from Anglo-French pudre, podre, from Latin pulver-, pulvis dust; probably akin to Sanskrit palāva chaff

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Time Traveler for powder

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

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Statistics for powder

Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Powder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powder. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for powder


pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce powder (audio) \
powdered; powdering

Kids Definition of powder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to sprinkle or cover with or as if with fine particles of something The cookies were powdered with sugar.
2 : to reduce or change to powder



Kids Definition of powder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a dry substance made up of fine particles The stone was crushed into powder.
2 : something (as a food, medicine, or cosmetic) made in or changed to the form of a powder garlic powder
3 : gunpowder


pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇d-ər How to pronounce powder (audio) \

Medical Definition of powder

: a product in the form of discrete usually fine particles specifically : a medicine or medicated preparation in the form of a powder antiseptic powder digestive powder

Powder geographical name

Pow·​der | \ ˈpau̇-dər How to pronounce Powder (audio) \

Definition of Powder

1 river 150 miles (241 kilometers) long in eastern Oregon flowing into the Snake River
2 river 375 miles (604 kilometers) long in northern Wyoming and southeastern Montana flowing north into the Yellowstone River

More from Merriam-Webster on powder

Nglish: Translation of powder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of powder for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about powder


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