I. noun Usage: often attributive Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French poer, pouer, from poer to be able, from Vulgar Latin *potēre, alteration of Latin posse — more at potent Date: 13th century 1. a. (1) ability to act or produce an effect (2) ability to get extra-base hits (3) capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect b. legal or official authority, capacity, or right 2. a. possession of control, authority, or influence over others b. one having such power; specifically a sovereign state c. a controlling group ; establishment — often used in the phrase the powers that be d. archaic a force of armed men e. chiefly dialect a large number or quantity 3. a. physical might b. mental or moral efficacy c. political control or influence 4. plural an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy 5. a. the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product <
5 to the third power is 125
; also the product itself <
8 is a power of 2
b. cardinal number 2 6. a. a source or means of supplying energy; especially electricity b. motive power c. the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred 7. magnification 2b 8. scope I,3 9. the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true Synonyms: power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, permissive authority, or substantial influence <
the power to mold public opinion
. authority implies the granting of power for a specific purpose within specified limits <
gave her attorney the authority to manage her estate
. jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits <
the bureau having jurisdiction over alcohol and firearms
. control stresses the power to direct and restrain <
you are responsible for the students under your control
. command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience <
the army officer in command
. sway suggests the extent or scope of exercised power or influence <
an empire that extended its sway over the known world
. dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority <
given dominion over all the animals
. Synonyms: power, force, energy, strength, might mean the ability to exert effort. power may imply latent or exerted physical, mental, or spiritual ability to act or be acted upon <
the awesome power of flowing water
. force implies the actual effective exercise of power <
used enough force to push the door open
. energy applies to power expended or capable of being transformed into work <
a worker with boundless energy
. strength applies to the quality or property of a person or thing that makes possible the exertion of force or the withstanding of strain, pressure, or attack <
use weight training to build your strength
. might implies great or overwhelming power or strength <
the belief that might makes right
. II. Date: 1540 transitive verb 1. to supply with power and especially motive power 2. to give impetus to intransitive verb 1. to move about by means of motive power 2. to move with great speed or force III. adjective Date: 1822 1. operated mechanically or electrically rather than manually <
a car with power locks
power tools
2. of, relating to, or utilizing strength <
plays a power game
; also powerful 1 <
a power critic
3. of, relating to, or being a meal at which influential people discuss business or politics <
a power lunch

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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