- ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.
- political or national strength: the balance of power in Europe.
- great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force.
- the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men's minds.
- political ascendancy or control in the government of a country, state, etc.: They attained power by overthrowing the legal government.
- legal ability, capacity, or authority: the power of attorney.
- delegated authority; authority granted to a person or persons in a particular office or capacity: the powers of the president.
- a document or written statement conferring legal authority.
- a person or thing that possesses or exercises authority or influence.
- a state or nation having international authority or influence: The great powers held an international conference.
- a military or naval force: The Spanish Armada was a mighty power.
- Often powers. a deity; divinity: the heavenly powers.
- powers, Theology. an order of angels.Compare angel(def 1).
- Dialect. a large number or amount: There's a power of good eatin' at the church social.
- work done or energy transferred per unit of time. Symbol: P
- the time rate of doing work.
- mechanical energy as distinguished from hand labor: a loom driven by power.
- a particular form of mechanical or physical energy: hydroelectric power.
- energy, force, or momentum: The door slammed shut, seemingly under its own power.
- the product obtained by multiplying a quantity by itself one or more times: The third power of 2 is 8.
- (of a number x) a number whose logarithm is a times the logarithm of x (and is called the ath power of x). Symbolically, y =xa is a number that satisfies the equation log y = a log x.
- the exponent of an expression, as a in xa.
- cardinal number(def 2).
- the magnifying capacity of a microscope, telescope, etc., expressed as the ratio of the diameter of the image to the diameter of the object.Compare magnification(def 2).
- the reciprocal of the focal length of a lens.
- to supply with electricity or other means of power: Atomic energy powers the new submarines.
- to give power to; make powerful: An outstanding quarterback powered the team in its upset victory.
- to inspire; spur; sustain: A strong faith in divine goodness powers his life.
- (of a fuel, engine, or any source able to do work) to supply force to operate (a machine): An electric motor powers this drill.
- to drive or push by applying power: She powered the car expertly up the winding mountain road.
- operated or driven by a motor or electricity: a power mower; power tools.
- power-assisted: His new car has power brakes and power windows.
- conducting electricity: a power cable.
- Informal. expressing or exerting power; involving or characteristic of those having authority or influence, as in power lunch;power couple;power suit.
- power down, Computers. to shut off.
- power up, Computers. to turn on.
- the powers that be, those in supreme command; the authorities: The decision is in the hands of the powers that be.
Origin of power
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (used to express or indicate a heavy blow or a loud, explosive noise.)
- a heavy blow or a loud, explosive noise.
- the power of exciting.
- exciting and appealing.
Origin of pow1
Examples from the Web for power
Would the Democrats rescind those rights if they were to return to power?The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate
January 7, 2015
Employees strap a device to their heads and power a helicopter drone with their minds.Use Your Brain—Control a Drone
The Daily Beast Video
January 5, 2015
What it endangers is a narrow conception of Russian power, understood through the eyes of its dictatorial leader.Oliver Stone’s Latest Dictator Suckup
January 5, 2015
I believe in the power of institutions—Congress, public policy, certain ideas about politics—that last for a long time.Thank Congress, Not LBJ for Great Society
Julian Zelizer, Scott Porch
January 4, 2015
We, on the other hand, are the ones who are making it bad, and the ones with the power to change that.Cover-Ups and Concern Trolls: Actually, It's About Ethics in Suicide Journalism
January 3, 2015
Has this fearful pestilence no power to restrain the appetites and passions of the people?
But I have a secret dread of the character and power of Alcibiades.
If a servant complained of being abused, his master had no power to retain him.
Then I shall have to put it out of your power to carry out your threat.Brave and Bold
He was forced to admit that the girl still had power to trouble him.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
- ability or capacity to do something
- (often plural) a specific ability, capacity, or faculty
- political, financial, social, etc, force or influence
- control or dominion or a position of control, dominion, or authority
- a state or other political entity with political, industrial, or military strength
- a person who exercises control, influence, or authorityhe's a power in the state
- a prerogative, privilege, or liberty
- legal authority to act, esp in a specified capacity, for another
- the document conferring such authority
- a military force
- military potential
- the value of a number or quantity raised to some exponent
- another name for exponent (def. 4)
- statistics the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a test when it is false. The power of a test of a given null depends on the particular alternative hypothesis against which it is tested
- physics engineering a measure of the rate of doing work expressed as the work done per unit time. It is measured in watts, horsepower, etcSymbol: P
- the rate at which electrical energy is fed into or taken from a device or system. It is expressed, in a direct-current circuit, as the product of current and voltage and, in an alternating-current circuit, as the product of the effective values of the current and voltage and the cosine of the phase angle between them. It is measured in watts
- (as modifier)a power amplifier
- the ability to perform work
- mechanical energy as opposed to manual labour
- (as modifier)a power mower
- a particular form of energynuclear power
- a measure of the ability of a lens or optical system to magnify an object, equal to the reciprocal of the focal length. It is measured in dioptres
- another word for magnification
- informal a large amount or quantitya power of good
- (plural) the sixth of the nine orders into which the angels are traditionally divided in medieval angelology
- in one's power (often foll by an infinitive) able or allowed (to)
- in someone's power under the control or sway of someone
- the powers that be the established authority or administration
- to give or provide power to
- to fit (a machine) with a motor or engine
- (intr) slang to travel with great speed or force
- an exclamation imitative of a collision, explosion, etc
- Scot the head or a head of hair
- Scot a creek or slow stream
- prisoner of war
Word Origin and History for power
c.1300, "ability; ability to act or do; strength, vigor, might," especially in battle; "efficacy; control, mastery, lordship, dominion; legal power or authority; authorization; military force, an army," from Anglo-French pouair, Old French povoir, noun use of the infinitive, "to be able," earlier podir (9c.), from Vulgar Latin *potere, from Latin potis "powerful" (see potent).
Whatever some hypocritical ministers of government may say about it, power is the greatest of all pleasures. It seems to me that only love can beat it, and love is a happy illness that can't be picked up as easily as a Ministry. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
Meaning "one who has power" is late 14c. Meaning "specific ability or capacity" is from early 15c. Meaning "a state or nation with regard to international authority or influence" [OED] is from 1726. Used for "a large number of" from 1660s. Meaning "energy available for work is from 1727. Sense of "electrical supply" is from 1896.
Phrase the powers that be is from Rom. xiii:1. As a statement wishing good luck, more power to (someone) is recorded from 1842. A power play in ice hockey so called by 1940. Power failure is from 1911; power steering from 1921.
"to supply with power," 1898, from power (n.). Earlier it meant "make powerful" (1530s). Related: Powered; powering.
expression imitative of a blow, collision, etc., first recorded 1881.
- The capacity to perform or act effectively.
- Strength or force that is exerted or that is capable of being exerted.
- The amount of work done per unit time.
- A measure of the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope.
- The source of energy used to operate a machine or other system.
- The rate at which work is done, or energy expended, per unit time. Power is usually measured in watts (especially for electrical power) or horsepower (especially for mechanical power). For a path conducting electrical current, such as a component in an electric circuit, P = VI, where P is the power dissipated along the path, V is the voltage across the path, and I is the current through the path. Compare energy work.
- Mathematics The number of times a number or expression is multiplied by itself, as shown by an exponent. Thus ten to the sixth power, or 106, equals one million.
- A number that represents the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope. A 500-power microscope can magnify an image to 500 times its original size.
In mathematics, a power is a number multiplied by itself the number of times signified by an exponent placed to the right and above it. Thus, 32, which means 3 × 3, is a power — the second power of three, or three squared, or nine. The expression 106, or ten to the sixth power, means 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10, or one million.