View synonyms for authority


[ uh-thawr-i-tee, uh-thor- ]


, plural au·thor·i·ties.
  1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.

    Synonyms: persuasion, sway, power, rule

  2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization:

    Who has the authority to grant permission?

  3. 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.

    Synonyms: arbiter, sovereign

  4. 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.

  5. an accepted source of information, advice, etc.:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading authority on vaccines and immunizations.

  6. a quotation or citation from such a source.
  7. an expert on a subject:

    He is an authority on baseball.

  8. persuasive force; cogency:

    She spoke with authority.

  9. a statute, court rule, or judicial decision that establishes a rule or principle of law; a ruling.
  10. 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.

  11. mastery in execution or performance, as of a work of art or literature or a piece of music.
  12. a warrant for action; justification.
  13. testimony; witness.


/ ɔːˈθɒrɪtɪ /


  1. the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others
  2. often plural a person or group of people having this power, such as a government, police force, etc
  3. a position that commands such a power or right (often in the phrase in authority )
  4. such a power or right delegated, esp from one person to another; authorization

    she has his authority

  5. the ability to influence or control others

    a man of authority

  6. an expert or an authoritative written work in a particular field

    he is an authority on Ming china

  7. evidence or testimony

    we have it on his authority that she is dead

  8. confidence resulting from great expertise

    the violinist lacked authority in his cadenza

  9. capital when part of a name a public board or corporation exercising governmental authority in administering some enterprise

    Independent Broadcasting Authority

  10. law
    1. a judicial decision, statute, or rule of law that establishes a principle; precedent
    2. legal permission granted to a person to perform a specified act
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Other Words From

  • an·ti·au·thor·i·ty adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of authority1

First recorded in 1200–50; earlier auct(h)oritie, from Latin auctōritās “power, influence, prestige,” equivalent to auctor “authority, originator, supporter” ( author ) + -itās -ity
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Word History and Origins

Origin of authority1

C14: from French autorité, from Latin auctōritas, from auctor author
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Example Sentences

By doing so, Facebook has effectively taken away medical experts’ and doctors’ authority on health-related matters and handed it over to the general public.

State and federal agencies have somewhat overlapping authority to regulate coal industry pollution.

Now, when we get on the ground, we’re still under the command and control of the governor and the adjutant general, the top military officer of the Illinois National Guard, but we’re generally placed under a civilian authority at the emergency.

Like Wiley, Gostin said lawsuits over a governor’s legal authority and separation of powers are more likely to succeed than those about individual liberties.

However, in practice, we often see that the so-called YMYL websites already can’t rank without having some expertise and authority established.

You get these high-profile people that go into prison, and the staff abuse their authority.

They selected an “easy mark” who turned out to be an off-duty NYC Housing Authority cop named James Carragher.

But the last national figure to wield ancient personal authority in an explicitly religious way was Robert F. Kennedy.

I have it on good authority these quotes are 100 percent accurate, if not 100 percent verbatim.

But the authority of his name far exceeds that of our own, famous or obscure though we be.

A distinguished-looking man, evidently vested with authority, bustled forward and addressed him, civilly enough.

"Here's my authority, yuh blasted runt," he yelled, and jerked his six-shooter to a level with the policeman's breast.

"The authority of Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye," was the unanswerable rejoinder.

In the next chapter he gives his twelve disciples authority over demons.

That of M. Charles Guenllette is the authority followed here.


Related Words

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When To Use

What are other ways to say authority?

The noun authority refers to the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues. When should you use this noun over control or influence? Find out on




authoritativeauthority control