American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
- n. A specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude. Often used in the plural: her powers of concentration.
- n. Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might. See Synonyms at strength.
- n. The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.
- n. A person, group, or nation having great influence or control over others: the western powers.
- n. The might of a nation, political organization, or similar group.
- n. Forcefulness; effectiveness: a novel of unusual power.
- n. Chiefly Upper Southern U.S. A large number or amount. See Regional Note at powerful.
- n. The energy or motive force by which a physical system or machine is operated: turbines turned by steam power; a sailing ship driven by wind power.
- n. The capacity of a system or machine to operate: a vehicle that runs under its own power.
- n. Electrical or mechanical energy, especially as used to assist or replace human energy.
- n. Electricity supplied to a home, building, or community: a storm that cut off power to the whole region.
- n. Physics The rate at which work is done, expressed as the amount of work per unit time and commonly measured in units such as the watt and horsepower.
- n. Electricity The product of applied potential difference and current in a direct-current circuit.
- n. Electricity The product of the effective values of the voltage and current with the cosine of the phase angle between current and voltage in an alternating-current circuit.
- n. Mathematics See exponent.
- n. Mathematics The number of elements in a finite set.
- n. Statistics The probability of rejecting the null hypothesis where it is false.
- n. A measure of the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope.
- n. Christianity The sixth of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology.
- n. Archaic An armed force.
- adj. Of or relating to political, social, or economic control: a power struggle; a power base.
- adj. Operated with mechanical or electrical energy in place of bodily exertion: a power tool; power car windows.
- adj. Of or relating to the generation or transmission of electricity: power companies; power lines.
- adj. Informal Of or relating to influential business or professional practices: a pinstriped suit with a power tie; met with high-level executives at a power breakfast.
- v. To supply with power, especially mechanical power.
- idiom. powers that be Those who hold effective power in a system or situation: a plan vetoed by the powers that be.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In general, such an absence of external restriction and limitation that it depends only upon the inward determination of the subject whether or not it will act.
- n. An endowment of a voluntary being whereby it becomes possible for that being to do or effect something. The power is said to belong to the being exercising it, and to be a power to act or of acting in a specified way. The person or thing affected by the action is said to be under the power of the subject, which is said to have power over or upon that object.
- n. A property of an inanimate thing or agency, especially a property of modifying other things.
- n. Used absolutely, with specification of the effect: The property whereby anything fulfils its proper functions well or strongly: as, a medicine of great power.
- n. A gift or talent for influencing others.
- n. The ability or right to command or control; dominion; authority; the right of governing.
- n. The domain within which authority or government is exercised; jurisdiction.
- n. In law: Legal capacity: as, the power to contract; the power of testation, or making a will.
- n. Legal authority conferred, and enabling one to do what otherwise he could not do; the dominion which one person may exercise over the property of another: as, the power of an agent, which is his delegated authority to act in the name or on behalf of his principal. In Roman law, power (potestas), in its largest sense, was held to comprise the control of the head of the household over slaves, children, descendants, and wife. In its more limited sense, it was used for the control over children and descendants, the power over the wife being distinguished by the name manus.
- n. In the law of conveyancing, an authority to do some act in relation to the title to lands or the creation of estates therein or to charges thereon, either conferred by the owner on another or reserved to himself when granting the lands or some interest therein; usually a power of appointment, which is the conferring on a person of the power of disposing of an interest in lands, quite irrespective of the fact whether or not he has any interest in the land itself. Digby. If the donee of the power has no interest in the land, the power is said to be collateral, as distinguished from a power appendant or appurtenant, as it is called when the interest he may dispose of must be carved out of or reduce his own interest; and from a power in gross, as it is called when the interest he may appoint will not take effect until his own interest has terminated: as, a power to a tenant for life to appoint the estate after his death among his children. A general power is one that may be exercised in favor of any one whatever, even the donee himself; a special or particular power can be exercised only in favor of a person or some of a class of persons specified in the document creating the power, or for specified purposes: as, a power to sell, to exchange, to lease, and the like.
- n. A written statement of legal authority; a document guaranteeing legal authority.
- n. Pecuniary ability; wealth.
- n. A large quantity; a great number.
- n. [Tr. of ML. potestas.] An active faculty of the mind whose exercise is dependent on the will.
- n. [Tr. of Latin potentia.] A capacity for acting or suffering in any determinate way.
- n. In Aristotelian metaph., the state of being of that which does not yet exist, but is in germ, ready to exist, the general conditions of its existence being fulfilled; the general principle of existence.
- n. In mech., that with which work can be done. Energy, whether kinetic or potential (as of a head of water or a steam-engine), considered as a commodity to be bought and sold in definite quantities. Hence (since this is usually provided in the kinetic form)— Kinetic energy.
- n. The mechanical advantage of a machine.
- n. A simple machine.
- n. Mechanical energy as distinguished from hand-labor.
- n. In arithmetic and real algebra, the result of multiplying a quantity into itself a specified number of times. The first power of a quantity is the quantity itself; the n power, where n is any positive integer, is the continued product of the quantity taken n times—that is, the quantity composed of n factors each equal to the quantity. A negative power, where n is a negative integer, is the reciprocal of the corresponding positive power: thus,
A fractional power is that root of the power of the quantity denoted by the numerator of the fraction which is denoted by the denominator: thus, is the n root of x. (See exponent.) In imaginary algebra the definition of a power is extended.
- n. In geometry, the square of the distance of a point from the point of tangency to a given circle of a line through that point. This quantity is said to be the power of the point with respect to the circle.
- n. A spiritual being in general. Specifically [plural], in the celestial hierarchy, the sixth order of angels, ranking last in the second triad. The word translates the '
Εξουσίαι(Potestates) of Eph. i. 21 and Col. i. 16. See hierarchy.
- n. A person in authority or exercising great influence in his community.
- n. A government; a governing body.
- n. That which has power; specifically, an army or navy; a military or naval force; a host.
- n. A token of subjection to power; in the New Testament, a covering for the head; a veil.
- n. In optics, the degree to which an optical instrument, as a telescope or microscope, magnifies the apparent linear or superficial dimensions of an object. See magnify.
- n. The eyepiece of a telescope or the objective of a microscope.
- n. Power within nature, not supernatural. Also called physical power.
- An obsolete form of poor.
- An obsolete form of pour.
- n. In geometry: The power of a point A with respect to a point-pair PP′ costraight with it is the product of the two sects from it to the pair—positive if it is on the same side of them, negative if it is between them. If m is the sect from A to the midpoint M of the sect PP′ , and h half the sect PP′ , then AP.AP′ = (m + h)(m—h) = m—h. This power is null if A coincides with P or P′ .
- n. The power of one point with respect to another is the square of the sect between them.
- n. The power of a point with respect to a straight is the perpendicular from the point to the straight.
- n. The power of a point with respect to a sphere or circle is its power with respect to a point-pair costraight with it and on the sphere or circle.
- n. The square on the center-sect of two circles less the squares on their radii is the power of the two circles, or the power of one circle with respect to the other.
- n. In the theory of assemblages: If the aggregates or sets A and B are equivalent they are said to have the same power.
- n. A transfinite cardinal.
- To furnish with power, specifically with motive power.
- n. A small codfish, Gadus minutus, called also power-cod.
- n. countable Capability or influence.
- n. uncountable Physical force or strength.
- n. Control, particularly legal or political (jurisdiction).
- n. uncountable Electricity or a supply of electricity.
- n. uncountable, physics A measure of the rate of doing work or transferring energy.
- n. uncountable, physics A rate to magnify an optical image by a lens or mirror.
- n. biblical In Christian angelology, the fourth level of angels, ranked above archangels and below principalities.
- n. mathematics A product of equal factors. Notation and usage: xn, read as "x to the power of n" or "x to the nth power", denotes x × x × ... × x, in which x appears n times, where n is called the exponent; the definition is extended to non-integer and complex exponents.
- n. set theory Cardinality.
- n. statistics The probability that a statistical test will reject the null hypothesis when the alternative hypothesis is true.
- n. the people in charge of legal or political power, the goverment.
- v. transitive To provide power for (a mechanical or electronic device).
- v. transitive To hit or kick something forcefully.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Same as poor, the fish.
- n. 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.
- n. Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength, force, or energy in action
- n. Capacity of undergoing or suffering; fitness to be acted upon; susceptibility; -- called also
- n. The exercise of a faculty; the employment of strength; the exercise of any kind of control; influence; dominion; sway; command; government.
- n. The agent exercising an ability to act; an individual invested with authority; an institution, or government, which exercises control; ; hence, often, a superhuman agent; a spirit; a divinity.
- n. A military or naval force; an army or navy; a great host.
- n. colloq. A large quantity; a great number.
- n. The rate at which mechanical energy is exerted or mechanical work performed, as by an engine or other machine, or an animal, working continuously.
- n. A mechanical agent; that from which useful mechanical energy is derived
- n. Applied force; force producing motion or pressure; as, the
powerapplied at one and of a lever to lift a weight at the other end.
- n. A machine acted upon by an animal, and serving as a motor to drive other machinery.
- n. (Math.) The product arising from the multiplication of a number into itself.
- n. (Metaph.) Mental or moral ability to act; one of the faculties which are possessed by the mind or soul
- n. (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.
- n. (Law) An authority enabling a person to dispose of an interest vested either in himself or in another person; ownership by appointment.
- n. Hence, vested authority to act in a given case.
- n. a very wealthy or powerful businessman
- n. (of a government or government official) holding an office means being in power
- n. a mathematical notation indicating the number of times a quantity is multiplied by itself
- n. a state powerful enough to influence events throughout the world
- n. (physics) the rate of doing work; measured in watts (= joules/second)
- n. possession of controlling influence
- n. one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority
- n. possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done
- n. physical strength
- v. supply the force or power for the functioning of
- From Middle English poer, from Old French poer, from Medieval Latin *potere, for Latin posse ("to be able"); see potent. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French pooir, to be able, power, from Vulgar Latin *potēre, to be able, from Latin potis, able, powerful; see poti- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Hannah Arendt, whose rejection of the command-obedience model of power and definition of ˜power™ as “the human ability not just to act but to act in concert” overlaps significantly with the feminist conception of power as empowerment (1970, 44).”
“The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power ”
“They say, 'The Congress shall _not have_ this power;' or, what is equivalent, they shall not exercise it, for a _power_ that may not be exercised is a nullity.”
“What this Association and other missionary forces have done and are doing -- this Association more than others -- will be the balance of power to prevent the dreaded conflict of races; _the balance of power_ to settle the question; How can the two races live in the same section with mutual respect for each other's civil and Christian rights?”
“_The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power_.”
“It may be because he has lost his erectile power (and this is how it is most commonly understood), or because he has lost all desire, or lastly, because the +vital fluid+ has become so +weakened+ and +degenerated+ as to have lost its +procreative power+.”
“In that which grants the executive power, the expressions are, 'The _executive power_ shall be vested in a President of the United States.”
“Shall we read, "That ye may abound in hope, through the power of the _power_"?”
“Sinners, however, can merit nothing, since they are without grace, and even without charity which, according to the Gloss  on the words, _Having an appearance of piety, but denying the power thereof_, is "the _power_ of piety.”
“When you think of this Holy Spirit of God as a power in every good life, it becomes a very real question what and of what sort is the _power_ that is holding sway over you in your leisure hours.”
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