Meaning of POWER in English

I. ˈpau̇(ə)r, -au̇ə, esp in Southern US -au̇wə(r noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French poer, poeir, from poer, poeir, v., to be able, from (assumed) Old Latin potēre — more at potent


a. : a position of ascendancy : ability to compel obedience : control , dominion

party in power

there are no … assignable boundaries to sovereign power — J.H.Hallowell

bidding for personal power and aiming to make himself absolute dictator — A.P.Ryan

knowledge meant power over nature — W.A.Kaufmann


(1) : a military force or its equipment

mechanized, motorized, horse and foot units … make the enemy a formidable power — Shipley Thomas

sea-borne air power successfully challenged land-based planes — Atlantic

(2) : ability to wage war

his military power absolutely crushed — Oscar Handlin

c. chiefly dialect : a large number or quantity : multitude , abundance , heap

there had been such a power of elderberries the year before — Mary Webb

contains a power of fine Arizona scenery — Newsweek



(1) : capability of acting or of producing an effect

purchasing power

countries behind the Iron Curtain would make the same choice if they had the power — A.J.Toynbee

the urbane power of reason, and the persuasive influence of just consideration — Gilbert Parker

learned more about the power and the beauty of clear design by reading … sonnets — Janna Burgess

(2) : a mental or physical ability or aptitude : faculty , talent

their visual sense was far more highly developed than their power of smell — W.E.Swinton

a man who has learned the technique of scientific investigation has added a new power to his mind — Benjamin Farrington

showed his power as a playwright — A.H.Quinn

— often used in plural

a man of fine mental powers — C.B.Fisher

test your powers of observation — Richard Harrison

loath to believe that a bird so small … could possess such vocal powers — John Burroughs

(3) : performance measured without consideration of the element of speed

b. : political sway : social sway : influence , prestige

when the Democratic party regained power in the state, he was reappointed surrogate — H.W.H.Knott

a man of power with the Sioux, rescued the three captives — I.B.Richman



(1) : a delegated right or privilege : prerogative

invaded his powers as commander-in-chief — Isabel Whittier

not necessary for Congress to trace back every one of its powers to some single grant of authority — F.A.Ogg & P.O.Ray

(2) : delegated authority

an emissary with power to negotiate

b. : a document conferring legal authority

not until the end of September did the British representative … show satisfactory powers to treat with the thirteen United States of America — W.C.Ford

c. : legal authority

the power to bestow degrees was granted by the legislature in 1820 — American Guide Series: Maine

argument began over the nature of the proposed pact and whether it would deprive Congress of the power to declare war — L.B.Burbank

specifically : the ability to change legal relations — compare collateral power , general power of appointment , power appendant , power coupled with an interest , power in gross , power of appointment , power of attorney , special power

4. : one that has influence or authority

was a power in ecclesiastical councils — H.E.Starr

the organs of justice … are the chief power in the state — Jacques Maritain

I wish the powers that be would send me out there — Rose Macaulay

preferred in politics to be the power behind the throne — Louis Bromfield

specifically : a sovereign state

the brutal and unprovoked assault … has caused reassessment of the foreign policies of the western powers — Army-Navy-Air Force Journal


a. powers plural , often capitalized

[Middle English poweris (plural), translation of Late Latin potestates, translation of Greek exousiai ]

: the sixth order in the celestial hierarchy

the powers and Thrones above — John Keble

b. : a supernatural being or occult force or the ability to control them

the sky … is the male power — J.G.Frazer

a good power called God — Time

shamanistic powers … were associated with animal or abstract beings — M.J.Herskovits

c. dialect : the religious fervor of a revivalist — used with the

almost got the power with the rest of them if for no other reason than the coffee and sandwiches — H.A.Chippendale


a. : physical might or resources : strength , solidity

punishment calls for clear predominance of power — H.D.Gideonse

the dancer is … using only a portion of his power — Reginald & Gladys Laubin

a great flood moving with majesty and power — Willa Cather

the building has unusual power — American Guide Series: New York City

b. : mental or moral efficacy : vigor , intensity

laid down with great power and insight a spiritual philosophy — W.R.Inge

the power of his curiosity surprised him — Morley Callaghan

it is fine, sturdy stuff and more power to him — G.N.Shuster

c. : political or national might

present-day tendency … to speak of the state almost exclusively in terms of power — American Polit. Sci. Review


a. : the number of times as indicated by an exponent a number occurs as a factor in a product ; also : the product itself

b. : the property that a mathematical aggregate has in common with all equivalent aggregates : the cardinal number that two or more aggregates share


a. : an inherent property or effect

they are … powers of material substances — Grace De Laguna

adrenalin … has the power of constricting the blood vessels — Morris Fishbein


(1) : the phonetic value of a letter

the power of K was usually written by C — Stanley Wemyss

(2) : the meaning of a word or phrase


a. archaic : simple machine


(1) : a source or means of supplying energy

muscle power

tractor power

wind power

atomic power

using horses and mules for power — C.B.Bender

especially : electricity

the shortage of power dims the streets — Wyndham Lewis

(2) : energy supplied from such sources : motive power

gathered their herds and started them on their own power in charge of cowboys — W.P.Webb

ships … arrive, dock, and depart under their own power — American Guide Series: North Carolina

c. : the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred

mechanical power of the internal combustion engine — A.C.Morrison

— usually expressed in horsepower or watts


a. : magnification 1 b

b. : the reciprocal of the focal length of a lens


control , authority , jurisdiction , command , dominion , sway : power indicates possession of the ability to wield coercive force, permissive authority, or substantial influence

the Governor's position is no longer one merely of dignity and honor, but of constantly increasing power — American Guide Series: Massachusetts

the trustees have power to appoint and displace professors, tutors, and other officers — John Marshall

or to make effective use of one's capacities

the Senate had been voting according to direction for so long that they seemed to have lost the power of independent decisions — Robert Graves

control emphasizes the power of direction or restraint

his nervous exasperation had grown so much that now very often he used to lose control of his voice — Joseph Conrad

he is likely to be the most hated man, because he exercises the greatest control — Abram Kardiner

all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress — U.S. Constitution

authority usually implies the granting of power for a specific purpose and within a carefully delineated frame of reference

by authority we mean the established right, within any social order, to determine policies, to pronounce judgments on relevant issues, and to settle controversies, or, more broadly, to act as leader or guide to other men — R.M.MacIver

but may also refer to influence derived from public sanction

some of the new philosophies undermine the authority of science, as some of the older systems undermined the authority of religion — W.R.Inge

jurisdiction usually applies to official power and responsibility formally determined and demarcated

in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction — U.S. Constitution

there can be no doubt as to the jurisdiction of this court to revise the judgment of the Circuit Court, and to reverse it for any error apparent on the record — R.B.Taney

many of the smaller squires and most of the larger ones had the right to private jurisdiction; the number of nobles with the right to put a man to death upon their own estates was appreciable — Hilaire Belloc

command stresses the power to make arbitrary decisions and to compel obedience

in war the president assumes command of the army and navy

he had no command among the men, and people did what they pleased with him — R.L.Stevenson

or it may imply self-mastery or mastery over one's resources

the author's command of his material is admirable, and his presentation masterly — H.O.Taylor

dominion indicates ultimate sovereignty or supreme authority

neither the English nor colonial Governments claimed or exercised any dominion over the tribe or nation by whom it was occupied, nor claimed the right to the possession of the territory, until the tribe or nation consented to cede it — R.B.Taney

the four wars between England and France for dominion in North America — American Guide Series: North Carolina

sway , somewhat rhetorical in effect, indicates a sweeping extent over which dominant power or dominion is exercised

it was as a successful warlord that the dictator Julius Caesar, after the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalia in 48 B.C., had brought the whole Roman world under the sway of one supreme military commander — P.N.Ure

in 1673 the Dutch recaptured the Colony, but in 1674 it was restored by treaty to the English, who promptly resumed their sway — American Guide Series: New York

no government, whatever its nature or form, can hold absolute sway in the multitudinous ramifications of human activity — Encyc. Americana


power , force , energy , strength , might , puissance , arm can signify the ability to exert effort for a purpose. power signifies ability, latent, exerted, physical, mental or spiritual, to act, be acted upon, effect or be effected, sometimes designating the thing having this ability

power, which is any and every capacity to produce results — American Polit. Sci. Review

the immense property value of the slaves and the power of the owners to control all the political agencies of the government — W.C.Ford

the power of the bridge to withstand great weights

the precious power to lift the minds and hearts of children — R.H.Wittcoff

the power to understand and be affected by music

who was a power in marine and financial circles in New York — H.W.H.Knott

force stresses the actual exercise of power, often applying to something which exercises its power efficaciously

to charge against a door with enough force to break it down

a society crowded by almost every other force toward like-mindedness and conformity — Oscar Handlin

a powerful political force

a police force

energy contrasts with latent power, denoting the power expended or capable of being transformed into work; in common use it implies stored-up power; in the physical sciences it is conceived of as one of two possible aspects of matter (the other being mass) and signifying, roughly, the capacity for work, realized or potential

how the immense energy of volcanoes might be harnessed for man's use — Howel Williams

measuring the physical output may furnish some rough estimate of the energy given out by the worker — J.A.Hobson

energy for sudden action, rapidity of decision, mystical fusion of reason and passion, which characterizes men created to act — William Troy

the electrical energy expended in the circuit is derived from the chemical energy of the freshly compounded battery — K.K.Darrow

energy and mass are two aspects of the same entity, and when the energy departs the corresponding amount of mass also departs — A.S.Eddington

strength applies to the power residing in a thing as a result of qualities or properties (as health or soundness in bodily condition, or numbers or great equipment in military organization) that enable it to exert force or manifest great energy as in resistance, attack, or endurance

a man of great strength

a wall of great strength

a political party of great strength

a military force of great strength

might , somewhat literary, suggests great or superhuman power or force

sportsmen have risen in their articulate might and blasted the proposals out of legislative halls — American Guide Series: Michigan

the most savage winter in the memory of the Colonies hurled its icy might against the Americans at Valley Forge — F.V.W.Mason

although in certain current fixed constructions it still retains its older sense of strength or force

they reserve to themselves the right to curse the city's shortcomings with might and main — American Guide Series: Maryland

Washington remonstrated with all his might — H.E.Scudder

puissance , rhetorical and literary, is similar to might but suggests a display of power

the sapience and puissance of the American businessman in general and the American financier in particular — G.W.Johnson

their legs had lost almost all puissance; for minutes they would stand virtually in place, unable to coordinate their thighs and feet to move forward — Norman Mailer

arm in this connection is the figurative extension of arm, the human limb, and signifies operative and effective power or that in which such power resides; or it can, in related but specialized use, signify a branch of the service

the strong arm of the law

the military was a fairly good arm of the American people — T.D.Clark

until all arms of the international fighting services are up to strength — A.P.Ryan

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb

1. : to give strength to : make powerful

warships … other craft, powered by 80,000,000 horsepower — Time


a. : to supply with or propel by means of motive power

tankers … fetch the fuel that powers trains and trucks — Andrew Boyd

are you waiting for me to power you out the door — F.W.Booth

especially : to furnish with electricity

tiny atomic batteries designed to power the electronic brains in guided missiles — Newsweek

b. : to give impetus to

decision to revenge … his wife, is powered by a quiet, controlled anger — Atlantic

intransitive verb

: to move under power

we powered cautiously into a fog — Thomas Morgan

III. noun

: the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis is true

IV. intransitive verb

: to move with great speed or force

V. ˈpau̇(ə)r, -au̇ə adjective

Etymology: power (I)

1. : of, relating to, or utilizing superior strength

a power hitter in baseball

2. : influential : important

a power critic

3. : of, relating to, or being a meal at which influential people carry on discussions especially about business or politics

a power restaurant

a power lunch

4. : characteristic of the style or habits of influential people

blue power suits

a power smile

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.