- the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
- a power or right delegated or given; authorization: Who has the authority to grant permission?
- a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency: The housing authority provides rental assistance payments to low-income residents. The bridges and piers are built and maintained by the Port Authority.
- Usually authorities. persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law; government: They finally persuaded the authorities that they were not involved in espionage.
- an accepted source of information, advice, etc.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading authority on vaccines and immunizations.
- a quotation or citation from such a source.
- an expert on a subject: He is an authority on baseball.
- persuasive force; conviction: She spoke with authority.
- a statute, court rule, or judicial decision that establishes a rule or principle of law; a ruling.
- right to respect or acceptance of one's word, command, thought, etc.; commanding influence: the authority of a parent; the authority of a great writer.
- mastery in execution or performance, as of a work of art or literature or a piece of music.
- a warrant for action; justification.
- testimony; witness.
Origin of authority
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for authority
You get these high-profile people that go into prison, and the staff abuse their authority.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’
January 6, 2015
But the authority of his name far exceeds that of our own, famous or obscure though we be.No Gods, No Cops, No Masters
January 1, 2015
Only two senators opposed the resolution, which the administration later claimed was the authority for a full-scale war.The World’s Toughest Political Quiz
December 31, 2014
Too moderate and the more radical groups call you a snitch, jeopardizing your standing and authority at demonstrations.De Blasio and the New York City Protesters Have No Blood on Their Hands
December 22, 2014
There is the will of the people; the resolve of the political class; the courage of the media; and the authority of the courts.The U.S. Will Torture Again—and We’re All to Blame
December 12, 2014
No man ventured to interfere with this lawful exercise of his authority.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
From that moment on, no Jew dared to question the authority of Moses.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
So this part of my restraint was doubtless a stretch of the authority given him.
It was unspeakably humiliating to be told that she had overstepped her authority.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
But it was always my notion, that children should not dispute their parents' authority.
- the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others
- (often plural) a person or group of people having this power, such as a government, police force, etc
- a position that commands such a power or right (often in the phrase in authority)
- such a power or right delegated, esp from one person to another; authorizationshe has his authority
- the ability to influence or control othersa man of authority
- an expert or an authoritative written work in a particular fieldhe is an authority on Ming china
- evidence or testimonywe have it on his authority that she is dead
- confidence resulting from great expertisethe violinist lacked authority in his cadenza
- (capital when part of a name) a public board or corporation exercising governmental authority in administering some enterpriseIndependent Broadcasting Authority
- a judicial decision, statute, or rule of law that establishes a principle; precedent
- legal permission granted to a person to perform a specified act
Word Origin and History for authority
early 13c., autorite "book or quotation that settles an argument," from Old French auctorité "authority, prestige, right, permission, dignity, gravity; the Scriptures" (12c.; Modern French autorité), from Latin auctoritatem (nominative auctoritas) "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command," from auctor "master, leader, author" (see author (n.)).
Usually spelled with a -c- in English till 16c., when it was dropped in imitation of the French. Meaning "power to enforce obedience" is from late 14c.; meaning "people in authority" is from 1610s. Authorities "those in charge, those with police powers" is recorded from mid-19c.