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power Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun possession of controlling influence
    • the deterrent power of nuclear weapons
    • the power of his love saved her
    • his powerfulness was concealed by a gentle facade
  2. noun (physics) the rate of doing work; measured in watts (= joules/second)
  3. noun possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done
    • danger heightened his powers of discrimination
  4. noun (of a government or government official) holding an office means being in power
    • being in office already gives a candidate a great advantage
    • during his first year in office
    • during his first year in power
    • the power of the president
  5. noun one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority
    • the mysterious presence of an evil power
    • may the force be with you
    • the forces of evil
  6. noun a mathematical notation indicating the number of times a quantity is multiplied by itself
    index; exponent.
  7. noun physical strength
    might; mightiness.
  8. noun a state powerful enough to influence events throughout the world
    superpower; great power; world power; major power.
  9. noun a very wealthy or powerful businessman
    business leader; tycoon; magnate; baron; king; mogul; top executive; big businessman.
    • an oil baron
  10. verb supply the force or power for the functioning of
    • The gasoline powers the engines

Pow"er noun
  1. (Zoöl.) Same as Poor, the fish.
Pow"er noun
OE. pouer, poer, OF. poeir, pooir, F. pouvoir, n. & v., fr. LL. potere, for L. posse, potesse, to be able, to have power. See Possible, Potent, and cf. Posse comitatus.
  1. Ability to act, regarded as latent or inherent; the faculty of doing or performing something; capacity for action or performance; capability of producing an effect, whether physical or moral: potency; might; as, a man of great power; the power of capillary attraction; money gives power. "One next himself in power, and next in crime." Milton.
  2. Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength, force, or energy in action; as, the power of steam in moving an engine; the power of truth, or of argument, in producing conviction; the power of enthusiasm. "The power of fancy." Shak.
  3. Capacity of undergoing or suffering; fitness to be acted upon; susceptibility; -- called also passive power; as, great power of endurance.
    Power, then, is active and passive; faculty is active power or capacity; capacity is passive power. Sir W. Hamilton.
  4. The exercise of a faculty; the employment of strength; the exercise of any kind of control; influence; dominion; sway; command; government.
    Power is no blessing in itself but when it is employed to protect the innocent. Swift.
  5. The agent exercising an ability to act; an individual invested with authority; an institution, or government, which exercises control; as, the great powers of Europe; hence, often, a superhuman agent; a spirit; a divinity. "The powers of darkness." Milton.
    And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Matt. xxiv. 29.
  6. A military or naval force; an army or navy; a great host. Spenser.
    Never such a power . . . Was levied in the body of a land. Shak.
  7. A large quantity; a great number; as, a power o good things. Colloq. Richardson.
  8. (Mech.) (a) The rate at which mechanical energy is exerted or mechanical work performed, as by an engine or other machine, or an animal, working continuously; as, an engine of twenty horse power. ✍ The English unit of power used most commonly is the horse power. See Horse power. (b) A mechanical agent; that from which useful mechanical energy is derived; as, water power; steam power; hand power, etc. (c) Applied force; force producing motion or pressure; as, the power applied at one and of a lever to lift a weight at the other end. ✍ This use in mechanics, of power as a synonym for force, is improper and is becoming obsolete. (d) A machine acted upon by an animal, and serving as a motor to drive other machinery; as, a dog power. Power is used adjectively, denoting, driven, or adapted to be driven, by machinery, and not actuated directly by the hand or foot; as, a power lathe; a power loom; a power press.
  9. (Math.) The product arising from the multiplication of a number into itself; as, a square is the second power, and a cube is third power, of a number.
  10. (Metaph.) Mental or moral ability to act; one of the faculties which are possessed by the mind or soul; as, the power of thinking, reasoning, judging, willing, fearing, hoping, etc. I. Watts.
    The guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness . . . into a received belief. Shak.
  11. (Optics) The degree to which a lens, mirror, or any optical instrument, magnifies; in the telescope, and usually in the microscope, the number of times it multiplies, or augments, the apparent diameter of an object; sometimes, in microscopes, the number of times it multiplies the apparent surface.
  12. (Law) An authority enabling a person to dispose of an interest vested either in himself or in another person; ownership by appointment. Wharton.
  13. Hence, vested authority to act in a given case; as, the business was referred to a committee with power. Power may be predicated of inanimate agents, like the winds and waves, electricity and magnetism, gravitation, etc., or of animal and intelligent beings; and when predicated of these beings, it may indicate physical, mental, or moral ability or capacity.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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