- 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 for authority on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for authorities
Late Wednesday night, French authorities reported that Mourad had surrendered to police, while the two brothers remained at large.Police Hunt for Paris Massacre Suspects
Tracy McNicoll, Christopher Dickey
January 7, 2015
Did he go to the authorities to file a report against the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel?Mexico’s Priests Are Marked for Murder
January 7, 2015
Yet only 24 percent of the 3,892 femicides the group identified in 2012 and 2013 were looked at by authorities.Why Mexicans Are Enraged by Obama’s Big Tuesday Meeting
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
January 6, 2015
I had a feeling that Turkish authorities were closing their eyes.Ghost Ships of the Mediterranean
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 6, 2015
Later reports say that authorities claimed to be merely escorting him back to his house arrest.Russia’s Rebel In Chief Escapes House Arrest
December 30, 2014
As to the possibility, however, the authorities are at loggerheads.The Man Shakespeare
The authorities here have recommended him for promotion to the rank of Major.Ridgeway
Sanitation is ever the last thing thought of by French authorities.
Let us hope that the authorities of Toulon were equally on the alert.
He does seem to know something about the history of this place, on which we are authorities!It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
- 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 authorities
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.