Definitions

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

  • noun Power; might.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Power; strength; force; vigor.
  • noun Jurisdiction; power; control.
  • noun Armed force.

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

  • noun Power; strength; might; force; potency.

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

  • noun Power, might or potency.
  • noun The high-jump component of the sport of show jumping.

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

  • noun power to influence or coerce

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from poissant, powerful, present participle of pooir, to be able; see power.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman pussance, pusaunce et al., from puissant ("powerful").

Examples

  • Could pissens be French-based Creole (maybe Haitian, if the ad was made in America), as in French "puissance" (power, potential, see Chinese neng 能)?

    languagehat.com: NAME THAT LANGUAGE!

  • O thou of beautiful smiles, Word is a cow, in consequence of her puissance which is both divine and not divine.

    The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 Books 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18

  • Well, what Spenser did with practically every Western myth, epic, and writer before him makes Faulkner look like a pre-schooler using slight of hand to hide a coin), his passion, his facility with language (that is, if you ignore the occasional "puissance"), his psychological insight.

    Telecommuter Talk

  • Une idée fausse, mais claire et précise, aura toujours plus de puissance dans le monde qu'une idée vraie mais complexe.

    Public Speaking

  • Une idée fausse, mais claire et précise, aura toujours plus de puissance dans le monde qu'une idée vraie mais complexe.

    Milestones

  • Une idée fausse, mais claire et précise, aura toujours plus de puissance dans le monde qu'une idée vraie mais complexe.

    Paris

  • As a mark of his noble puissance, shops and restaurants throughout the city unhesitatingly honored his money at full face value.

    LIGHTING OUT FOR THE TERRITORY

  • How, Dalgliesh wondered, had the sculptor managed to convey the sweetness and the obstinacy of that individual smile, to model compassion and yet reduce it to self-delusion, to show humility garbed in a monk's habit -nd yet convey an overriding impression of the puissance of evil.

    She Closed Her Eyes

  • As a mark of his noble puissance, shops and restaurants throughout the city unhesitatingly honored his money at full face value.

    LIGHTING OUT FOR THE TERRITORY

  • Une idée fausse, mais claire et précise, aura toujours plus de puissance dans le monde qu'une idée vraie mais complexe.

    Milestones

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • This word is one of the few that is wholly Shakespearean in my view.

    I also like to say "wholly."

    April 28, 2008

  • "Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today?

    - H. L. Mencken, 'Where is the graveyard of dead gods?'

    September 29, 2008

  • "Important people came in from the farther corners of the Barony, and there were a good many Conversationals leading up to the main Conversational on Reaping Day. Susan was expeccted to be present at these--mostly as a decorative testimony to the Mayor's continuing puissance." From Wizard and Glass by Stephen King.

    January 28, 2011