(of a machine, vehicle, etc.) having a specified fuel or prime mover:
a gasoline-powered engine; an engine-powered pump.
ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.
political or national strength:
the balance of power in Europe.
great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force.
the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy:
power over men’s minds.
political ascendancy or control in the government of a country, state, etc.:
They attained power by overthrowing the legal government.
legal ability, capacity, or authority:
the power of attorney.
delegated authority; authority granted to a person or persons in a particular office or capacity:
the powers of the president.
a document or written statement conferring legal authority.
a person or thing that possesses or exercises authority or influence.
a state or nation having international authority or influence:
The great powers held an international conference.
a military or naval force:
The Spanish Armada was a mighty power.
Often, powers. a deity; divinity:
the heavenly powers.
powers, Theology. an order of angels.
Compare angel (def 1).
Dialect. a large number or amount:
There’s a power of good eatin’ at the church social.

work done or energy transferred per unit of time. Symbol: P.
the time rate of doing work.

mechanical energy as distinguished from hand labor:
a loom driven by power.
a particular form of mechanical or physical energy:
hydroelectric power.
energy, force, or momentum:
The door slammed shut, seemingly under its own power.

the product obtained by multiplying a quantity by itself one or more times:
The third power of 2 is 8.
(of a number x) a number whose logarithm is a times the logarithm of x (and is called the a th power of x). Symbolically, y = xa is a number that satisfies the equation log y = a log x.
the exponent of an expression, as a in xa.
cardinal number (def 2).


the magnifying capacity of a microscope, telescope, etc., expressed as the ratio of the diameter of the image to the diameter of the object.
Compare magnification (def 2).
the reciprocal of the focal length of a lens.

verb (used with object)
to supply with electricity or other means of power:
Atomic energy powers the new submarines.
to give power to; make powerful:
An outstanding quarterback powered the team in its upset victory.
to inspire; spur; sustain:
A strong faith in divine goodness powers his life.
(of a fuel, engine, or any source able to do work) to supply force to operate (a machine):
An electric motor powers this drill.
to drive or push by applying power:
She powered the car expertly up the winding mountain road.
operated or driven by a motor or electricity:
a power mower; power tools.
His new car has power brakes and power windows.
conducting electricity:
a power cable.
Informal. expressing or exerting power; characteristic of those having authority or influence:
to host a power lunch.
Verb phrases
power down, Computers. to shut off.
power up, Computers. to turn on.
the powers that be, those in supreme command; the authorities:
The decision is in the hands of the powers that be.
ability or capacity to do something
(often pl) a specific ability, capacity, or faculty
political, financial, social, etc, force or influence
control or dominion or a position of control, dominion, or authority
a state or other political entity with political, industrial, or military strength
a person who exercises control, influence, or authority: he’s a power in the state
a prerogative, privilege, or liberty

legal authority to act, esp in a specified capacity, for another
the document conferring such authority


a military force
military potential


the value of a number or quantity raised to some exponent
another name for exponent (sense 4)

(statistics) the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a test when it is false. The power of a test of a given null depends on the particular alternative hypothesis against which it is tested
(physics, engineering) a measure of the rate of doing work expressed as the work done per unit time. It is measured in watts, horsepower, etc P

the rate at which electrical energy is fed into or taken from a device or system. It is expressed, in a direct-current circuit, as the product of current and voltage and, in an alternating-current circuit, as the product of the effective values of the current and voltage and the cosine of the phase angle between them. It is measured in watts
(as modifier): a power amplifier

the ability to perform work

mechanical energy as opposed to manual labour
(as modifier): a power mower

a particular form of energy: nuclear power

a measure of the ability of a lens or optical system to magnify an object, equal to the reciprocal of the focal length. It is measured in dioptres
another word for magnification

(informal) a large amount or quantity: a power of good
(pl) the sixth of the nine orders into which the angels are traditionally divided in medieval angelology
(often foll by an infinitive) in one’s power, able or allowed (to)
in someone’s power, under the control or sway of someone
the powers that be, the established authority or administration
verb (transitive)
to give or provide power to
to fit (a machine) with a motor or engine
(intransitive) (slang) to travel with great speed or force

power pow·er (pou’ər)

The capacity to perform or act effectively.

Strength or force that is exerted or that is capable of being exerted.

The amount of work done per unit time.

A measure of the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope.


The source of energy used to operate a machine or other system.

The rate at which work is done, or energy expended, per unit time. Power is usually measured in watts (especially for electrical power) or horsepower (especially for mechanical power). For a path conducting electrical current, such as a component in an electric circuit, P = VI, where P is the power dissipated along the path, V is the voltage across the path, and I is the current through the path. Compare energy, work.

Mathematics The number of times a number or expression is multiplied by itself, as shown by an exponent. Thus ten to the sixth power, or 106, equals one million.

A number that represents the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope. A 500-power microscope can magnify an image to 500 times its original size.

power definition

In physics, the amount of energy put out or produced in a given amount of time. Power is often measured in watts or kilowatts.

In mathematics, a power is a number multiplied by itself the number of times signified by an exponent placed to the right and above it. Thus, 32, which means 3 × 3, is a power — the second power of three, or three squared, or nine. The expression 106, or ten to the sixth power, means 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10 × 10, or one million.


To hit the ball very hard: He powered that one to the wall (1940s+ Baseball)

Related Terms

flower power
In addition to the idioms beginning with power
power behind the throne


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