• synonyms


[pyoo-uh-suh ns, pyoo-is-uh ns, pwis-uh ns]
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noun Literary.
  1. power, might, or force.
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Origin of puissance

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French, equivalent to puiss(ant) puissant + -ance -ance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for puissance

Historical Examples

  • Never before had she felt so profoundly the puissance of her sex.

    Nana, The Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille

    Emile Zola

  • He will always be a puissance; it remains to be seen in whose hands and for what objects.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • Might he not, by the puissance of gold, discover who were his real parents?

    Wood Rangers

    Mayne Reid

  • The duke followed with all his puissance, and set on his enimies.

  • Hearing her words, he realized the puissance of all-conquering, maternal love.

    The Devourers

    Annie Vivanti Chartres

British Dictionary definitions for puissance


  1. a competition in showjumping that tests a horse's ability to jump a limited number of large obstacles
  2. archaic, or poetic power
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French; see puissant
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 puissance


early 15c., "power, strength, authority," from Old French puissance, poissance "power, might" (12c.), from puissant (see puissant).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper