Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. See Synonyms at authorize.
  • transitive v. To equip or supply with an ability; enable: "Computers ... empower students to become intellectual explorers” ( Edward B. Fiske).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To give permission, power, or the legal right to do something.
  • v. To give someone more confidence and/or strength to do something, often by enabling them to increase their control over their own life or situation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To give authority to; to delegate power to; to commission; to authorize (having commonly a legal force)
  • transitive v. To give moral or physical power, faculties, or abilities to.
  • transitive v. to enable or permit; to give more opportunity for independent action.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give power or authority to; authorize, as by law, commission, letter of attorney, verbal license, etc.: as, the commissioner is empowered to make terms.
  • To impart power or force to; give efficacy to; enable.
  • Synonyms To commission, license, warrant, qualify.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. give or delegate power or authority to
  • v. give qualities or abilities to

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

em- +‎ power

Examples

Comments

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  • I find this word empowering.

    December 22, 2008

  • Ugh. I'm adding that to my "hated" list.

    December 22, 2008

  • I agree whole-heartedly. Such an annoying and vacuous word.

    December 22, 2008

  • I agree whole-heartedly. Such an annoying and vacuous word.

    December 22, 2008

  • I dislike this word so much that I consider it an un-word.

    June 29, 2008

  • Said so often in health and human services that it almost means nothing. Stolen. Worn out. Even co-opted. Way to ruin something.

    June 29, 2008