[ pou-er-fuhl ]
/ ˈpaʊ ər fəl /


Nearby words

  1. powerboat,
  2. powerboater,
  3. powerboating,
  4. powerbroker,
  5. powered,
  6. powerfully,
  7. powerhouse,
  8. powerless,
  9. powerlifting,
  10. powerpoint

Origin of powerful

First recorded in 1350–1400, powerful is from the Middle English word powarfull. See power, -ful

1. forceful, strong. Powerful, mighty, potent suggest great force or strength. Powerful suggests capability of exerting great force or overcoming strong resistance: a powerful machine like a bulldozer. Mighty, now chiefly rhetorical, implies uncommon or overwhelming strength of power: a mighty army. Potent implies great natural or inherent power: a potent influence. 5. influential, convincing, forcible, cogent, effective.

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for powerful

British Dictionary definitions for powerful


/ (ˈpaʊəfʊl) /


having great power, force, potency, or effect
extremely effective or efficient in actiona powerful drug; a powerful lens
dialect large or greata powerful amount of trouble


dialect extremely; veryhe ran powerful fast
Derived Formspowerfully, adverbpowerfulness, noun

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

Word Origin and History for powerful



c.1400, from power (n.) + -ful. Meaning "of great quality or number" is from 1811; colloquial sense of "exceedingly" (adv.) is from 1822. Related: Powerfully. Thornton ("American Glossary") notes powerful as "Much used by common people in the sense of very," along with monstrous and cites curious expressions such as devilish good, monstrous pretty (1799), dreadful polite, cruel pretty, abominable fine (1803), "or when a young lady admires a lap dog for being so vastly small and declares him prodigious handsome" (1799).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper