Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A power affecting a person, thing, or course of events, especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort.
  • noun Power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability, or position.
  • noun A person who exerts such power.
  • noun A determining factor believed by some to affect individual tendencies and characteristics understood to be caused by the positions of the stars and planets at the time of one's birth.
  • noun Factors believed to be caused by the changing positions of the stars and planets in relation to their positions at the time of one's birth.
  • transitive verb To have an influence on (something); change.
  • transitive verb To change the behavior or thinking of (someone); sway.
  • idiom (under the influence) Intoxicated, especially with alcohol.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To exercise influence on; modify, affect, or sway, especially by intangible or invisible means; act on or affect by the transmission of some energy or potency: as, the sun influences the tides; to influence a person by the hope of reward or the fear of punishment.
  • Synonyms To lead, induce, move, impel, actuate, prevail upon.
  • noun A flowing in; direct influx of energy: followed by into.
  • noun In astrology, the radiation of power from the stars in certain positions and collocations, affecting human actions and destinies; a supposed positive occult power exerted by the stars over human affairs.
  • noun Outgoing energy or potency that produces effects (primarily internal), or affects, modifies, or sways by insensible or invisible means that to which it is directed or on which it operates: sometimes used for the effect produced: as, the influence of heat on vegetation; the influence of climate on character; the influence of the moon on the tides; the influence of example on the young.
  • noun Capacity or power for producing effects by insensible or invisible means; authority; power; ascendancy over others; sway: as, a man of influence; a position of great influence.
  • noun In electricity and magnetism, same as induction, 6.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To control or move by power, physical or moral; to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to affect; to move; to persuade; to induce.
  • noun obsolete A flowing in or upon; influx.
  • noun Hence, in general, the bringing about of an effect, physical or moral, by a gradual process; controlling power quietly exerted; agency, force, or tendency of any kind which affects, modifies, or sways.
  • noun Power or authority arising from elevated station, excelence of character or intellect, wealth, etc.; reputation; acknowledged ascendency.
  • noun (Elec.) Induction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The power to affect, control or manipulate something or someone; the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as conduct, thoughts or decisions.
  • noun An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change.
  • noun A person or thing exerting such power or action.
  • noun astrology An element believed to determine someone's character or individual tendencies, caused by the position of the stars and planets at the time of one's birth.
  • noun obsolete The action of flowing in; influx.
  • noun electricity electrostatic induction.
  • verb transitive To affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to persuade or induce.
  • verb intransitive To exert, make use of one's influence.
  • verb transitive, obsolete To cause to flow in or into; infuse; instill.

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

  • noun the effect of one thing (or person) on another
  • noun a cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do
  • noun a power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc
  • verb have and exert influence or effect
  • verb induce into action by using one's charm
  • noun one having power to influence another
  • verb shape or influence; give direction to
  • noun causing something without any direct or apparent effort

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin īnfluentia, influx, from Latin īnfluēns, īnfluent-, present participle of īnfluere, to flow in : in-, in; see in– + fluere, to flow; see bhleu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French influence ("emanation from the stars affecting one's fate"), from Medieval Latin īnfluentia, from Latin īnfluēns ("flowing in"), present active participle of īnfluō ("flow into"), from in- ("in-") + fluō ("flow").

Examples

  • This objection, that we non-voters shall lose all our influence, confounds the broad distinction between _influence_ and _power_.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 4 of 4

  • This objection, that we non-voters shall lose all our influence, confounds the broad distinction between _influence_ and _power_.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • Thus the determining influence is not the difference between the large town and the small; and the character of the school depends, not only upon the moral level of its pupils, but above all upon the moral level and the _personal influence_ of the head of the school and the assistant teachers.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

  • But equally obviously the main influence is NOT East Asian, as anyone with two eyes and a little sense can see.

    A Childish Question About Immigration, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • No one in influence is willing to take the bull by the horns and do something; Even the highest form of govt. believe prohibition to be largely inneffective.

    Charity Begins At Home

  • Resisting undue outside influence is part of what news professionals do, even when that influence comes from the public they're honor-bound to serve.

    September 2004

  • We commonly use the term influence to denote a persuasive power, or a governmental power, exerted purposely, and with a conscious design to effect some result in the subject.

    Christian Nurture.

  • The common use of the term influence would seem to imply the existence of its correlative, effluence.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • The common use of the term influence would seem to imply the existence of its correlative, effluence.

    A Mortal Antipathy: first opening of the new portfolio

  • And we compute the authority of people-what we call "influence"-based on the likelihood that a single post from a single individual is going to get attention.

    Wired Top Stories

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • The unit of currency for the City of Heroes MMORPG.

    September 7, 2008