- the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others: He used family influence to get the contract.
- the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: Her mother's influence made her stay.
- a person or thing that exerts influence: He is an influence for the good.
- the radiation of an ethereal fluid from the stars, regarded as affecting human actions and destinies.
- the exercise of occult power by the stars, or such power as exercised.
- the exercise of similar power by human beings.
- Obsolete. influx.
- to exercise influence on; affect; sway: to influence a person.
- to move or impel (a person) to some action: Outside factors influenced her to resign.
- under the influence, Law. less than drunk but with one's nervous system impaired: He was driving while under the influence.Also under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
Origin of influence
SynonymsSee more synonyms for influence on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for influence
What sets him apart from so many of his contemporaries was his rare immunity from the influence of prevailing ideas.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
"He brought Ray Charles to the mix as an influence on rock & roll," E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt once raved.Joe Cocker's Deep Live Cuts
December 22, 2014
These women interred the bodies of saints on their own properties and occasionally managed to influence papal politics.First Anglican Woman Bishop A Return to Christian Roots
December 18, 2014
And if she just gets stuck there, her influence, however great among the Democratic base, will never grow outside of it.The Most Powerful Democrat in America
December 15, 2014
Telltale can give the real Game of Thrones experience, but one that you can influence.‘Game of Thrones’ Interactive FanFiction: Whoops, My Friend Was Speared in the Throat
December 13, 2014
It cannot be denied that he has often made good use of his influence.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Under its influence Hope sometimes appeared at disadvantage.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
He has no voice in its making, no influence in its administration, it does not represent him.
The influence of Westhampton is Radical, and fills the Council with a lot of outsiders.Viviette
William J. Locke
Their influence on us is at least reciprocal with ours on them.Little Annie's Ramble (From "Twice Told Tales")
- an effect of one person or thing on another
- the power of a person or thing to have such an effect
- power or sway resulting from ability, wealth, position, etc
- a person or thing having influence
- astrology an ethereal fluid or occult power regarded as emanating from the stars and affecting a person's actions, future, etc
- under the influence informal drunk
- to persuade or induce
- to have an effect upon (actions, events, etc); affect
Word Origin and History for influence
late 14c., an astrological term, "streaming ethereal power from the stars acting upon character or destiny of men," from Old French influence "emanation from the stars that acts upon one's character and destiny" (13c.), also "a flow of water," from Medieval Latin influentia "a flowing in" (also used in the astrological sense), from Latin influentem (nominative influens), present participle of influere "to flow into," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + fluere "to flow" (see fluent). Meaning "exercise of personal power by human beings" is from mid-15c.; meaning "exertion of unseen influence by persons" is from 1580s (a sense already in Medieval Latin, e.g. Aquinas). Under the influence "drunk" first attested 1866.
1650s, from influence (n.). Related: Influenced; influencing.
Idioms and Phrases with influence
see under the influence.