Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Power

Pow′er

,
Noun.
(Zool.)
Same as
Poor
, the fish.

Pow′er

,
Noun.
[OE.
pouer
,
poer
, OF.
poeir
,
pooir
, F.
pouvoir
, n. & v., fr. LL.
potere
, for L.
posse
,
potesse
, to be able, to have power. See
Possible
,
Potent
, and cf.
Posse comitatus
.]
1.
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;
as, a man of great
power
; the
power
of capillary attraction; money gives
power
.
“One next himself in power, and next in crime.”
Milton.
2.
Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength, force, or energy in action;
as, the
power
of steam in moving an engine; the
power
of truth, or of argument, in producing conviction; the
power
of enthusiasm.
“The power of fancy.”
Shak.
3.
Capacity of undergoing or suffering; fitness to be acted upon; susceptibility; – called also
passive power
;
as, great
power
of endurance
.
Power
, then, is active and passive; faculty is active
power
or capacity; capacity is passive
power
.
Sir W. Hamilton.
4.
The exercise of a faculty; the employment of strength; the exercise of any kind of control; influence; dominion; sway; command; government.
Power
is no blessing in itself but when it is employed to protect the innocent.
Swift.
5.
The agent exercising an ability to act; an individual invested with authority; an institution, or government, which exercises control;
as, the great
powers
of Europe
; hence, often, a superhuman agent; a spirit; a divinity.
“The powers of darkness.”
Milton.
And the
powers
of the heavens shall be shaken.
Matt. xxiv. 29.
6.
A military or naval force; an army or navy; a great host.
Spenser.
Never such a
power
. . .
Was levied in the body of a land.
Shakespeare
7.
A large quantity; a great number;
as, a
power
o[GREEK] good things
.
[Colloq.]
Richardson.
8.
(Mech.)
(a)
The rate at which mechanical energy is exerted or mechanical work performed, as by an engine or other machine, or an animal, working continuously;
as, an engine of twenty horse
power
.
☞ The English unit of power used most commonly is the horse power. See
Horse power
.
(b)
A mechanical agent; that from which useful mechanical energy is derived;
as, water
power
; steam
power
; hand
power
, etc.
(c)
Applied force; force producing motion or pressure; as, the power applied at one and of a lever to lift a weight at the other end.
☞ This use in mechanics, of power as a synonym for force, is improper and is becoming obsolete.
(d)
A machine acted upon by an animal, and serving as a motor to drive other machinery;
as, a dog
power
.
Power is used adjectively, denoting, driven, or adapted to be driven, by machinery, and not actuated directly by the hand or foot; as, a power lathe; a power loom; a power press.
9.
(Math.)
The product arising from the multiplication of a number into itself;
as, a square is the second
power
, and a cube is third
power
, of a number
.
10.
(Metaph.)
Mental or moral ability to act; one of the faculties which are possessed by the mind or soul;
as, the
power
of thinking, reasoning, judging, willing, fearing, hoping, etc.
I. Watts.
The guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my
powers
, drove the grossness . . . into a received belief.
Shakespeare
11.
(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.
12.
(Law)
An authority enabling a person to dispose of an interest vested either in himself or in another person; ownership by appointment.
Wharton.
13.
Hence, vested authority to act in a given case;
as, the business was referred to a committee with
power
.
Power may be predicated of inanimate agents, like the winds and waves, electricity and magnetism, gravitation, etc., or of animal and intelligent beings; and when predicated of these beings, it may indicate physical, mental, or moral ability or capacity.
Mechanical powers
.
See under
Mechanical
.
Power loom
, or
Power press
.
See Def. 8
(d)
, note.
Power of attorney
.
See under
Attorney
.
Power of a point
(relative to a given curve)
(Geom.)
,
the result of substituting the coordinates of any point in that expression which being put equal to zero forms the equation of the curve; as,
x
2
+ y
2
- 100
is the power of the point x, y, relative to the circle
x
2
+ y
2
- 100 = 0
.

Webster 1828 Edition


Power

POW'ER

,
Noun.
[The Latin has posse, possum, potes, potentia. The primary sense of the verb is to strain, to exert force.]
1.
In a philosophical sense, the faculty of doing or performing any thing; the faculty of moving or of producing a change in something; ability or strength. A man raises his hand by his own power, or by power moves another body. The exertion of power proceeds from the will, and in strictness, no being destitute of will or intelligence, can exert power. Power in man is active or speculative. Active power is that which moves the body; speculative power is that by which we see, judge, remember, or in general, by which we think.
Power may exist without exertion. We have power to speak when we are silent.
Power has been distinguished also into active and passive,the power of doing or moving, and the power of receiving impressions or of suffering. In strictness, passive power is an absurdity in terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted,is improper language,yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense, and is considered as two-fold; viz.as able to make or able to receive any change.
2.
Force; animal strength; as the power of the arm, exerted in lifting, throwing or holding.
3.
Force; strength; energy; as the power of the mind, of the imagination, of the fancy. He has not powers of genius adequate to the work.
4.
Faculty of the mind, as manifested by a particular mode of operation; as the power of thinking, comparing and judging; the reasoning powers.
5.
Ability, natural or moral. We say, a man has the power of doing good; his property gives him the power of relieving the distressed; or he has the power to persuade others to do good; or it is not in his power to pay his debts. The moral power of man is also his power of judging or discerning in moral subjects.
6.
In mechanics, that which produces motion or force, or which may be applied to produce it. Thus the inclined plane is called a mechanical power, as it produces motion, although this in reality depends on gravity. The wheel and axle, and the lever, are mechanical powers, as they may be applied to produce force. These powers are also called forces, and they are of two kinds, moving power, and sustaining power.
7.
Force. The great power of the screw is of extensive use in compression. The power of steam is immense.
8.
That quality in any natural body which produces a change or makes an impression on another body; as the power of medicine; the power of heat; the power of sound.
9.
Force; strength; momentum; as the power of the wind, which propels a ship or overturns a building.
10. Influence; that which may move the mind; as the power of arguments or of persuasion.
11. Command; the right of governing, or actual government; dominion; rule, sway; authority. A large portion of Asia is under the power of the Russian emperor. The power of the British monarch is limited by law. The powers of government are legislative, executive, judicial, and ministerial.
Power is no blessing in itself, but when it is employed to protect the innocent.
Under this sense may be comprehended civil, political, ecclesiastical, and military power.
12. A sovereign, whether emperor, king or governing prince or the legislature of a state; as the powers of Europe; the great powers; the smaller powers. In this sense, the state or nation governed seems to be included in the word power. Great Britain is a great naval power.
13. One invested with authority; a ruler; a civil magistrate. Rom.13.
14. Divinity; a celestial or invisible being or agent supposed to have dominion over some part of creation; as celestial powers; the powers of darkness.
15. That which has physical power; an army; a navy; a host; a military force.
Never such a power--
Was levied in the body of a land.
16. Legal authority; warrant; as a power of attorney; an agent invested with ample power. The envoy has full powers to negotiate a treaty.
17. In arithmetic and algebra, the product arising from the multiplication of a number or quantity into itself; as, a cube is the third power; the biquadrate is the fourth power.
18. In Scripture, right; privilege. John 1. 1 Cor.9.
19. Angels, good or bad. Col 1. Eph. 6.
20. Violence, force; compulsion. Ezek. 4.
21. Christ is called the power of God, as through him and his gospel, God displays his power and authority in ransoming and saving sinners. 1 Cor.1.
22. The powers of heaven may denote the celestial luminaries. Matt.24.
23. Satan is said to have the power of death, as he introduced sin, the cause of death, temporal and eternal, and torments men with the feat of death and future misery.
24. In vulgar language, a large quantity; a great number; as a power of good things. [This is, I believe, obsolete, even among our common people.]
Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.

Definition 2021


Power

Power

See also: power

English

Noun

Power (plural Powers)

  1. A button of a computer, a video game console, or similar device, that when pressed, causes the device to be either shut down or powered up.

power

power

See also: Power

English

Alternative forms

Noun

power (countable and uncountable, plural powers)

  1. (social) Ability to coerce, influence or control.
    1. (countable) Ability to affect or influence.
      • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book III, chapter ii
        An incident which happened about this time will set the characters of these two lads more fairly before the discerning reader than is in the power of the longest dissertation.
      • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book III, chapter iii
        Thwackum, on the contrary, maintained that the human mind, since the fall, was nothing but a sink of iniquity, till purified and redeemed by grace. [] The favourite phrase of the former, was the natural beauty of virtue; that of the latter, was the divine power of grace.
      • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
        “[…] That woman is stark mad, Lord Stranleigh. Her own father recognised it when he bereft her of all power in the great business he founded. []”
      • 1998, Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
        Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present.
    2. Control or coercion, particularly legal or political (jurisdiction).
      • 1949, Eric Blair, aka George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
        The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. [...] We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
      • 2005, Columbia Law Review, April
        In the face of expanding federal power, California in particular struggled to maintain control over its Chinese population.
      • 2013 August 10, Can China clean up fast enough?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
        It has jailed environmental activists and is planning to limit the power of judicial oversight by handing a state-approved body a monopoly over bringing environmental lawsuits.
    3. (metonymy) (chiefly in the plural) The people in charge of legal or political power, the government.
    4. (metonymy) An influential nation, company, or other such body.
      • 2013 August 16, John Vidal, Dams endanger ecology of Himalayas”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 10, page 8:
        Most of the Himalayan rivers have been relatively untouched by dams near their sources. Now the two great Asian powers, India and China, are rushing to harness them as they cut through some of the world's deepest valleys.
  2. (physical, uncountable) Effectiveness.
    1. Physical force or strength.
      He needed a lot of power to hit the ball out of the stadium.
    2. Electricity or a supply of electricity.
      After the pylons collapsed, this town was without power for a few days.
      • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
        “My father had ideas about conservation long before the United States took it up. [] You preserve water in times of flood and freshet to be used for power or for irrigation throughout the year. […]”
      • 2013 July 20, Out of the gloom”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
        [Rural solar plant] schemes are of little help to industry or other heavy users of electricity. Nor is solar power yet as cheap as the grid. For all that, the rapid arrival of electric light to Indian villages is long overdue. When the national grid suffers its next huge outage, as it did in July 2012 when hundreds of millions were left in the dark, look for specks of light in the villages.
    3. A measure of the rate of doing work or transferring energy.
    4. A rate to magnify an optical image by a lens or mirror.
      We need a microscope with higher power.
  3. (mathematics)
    1. 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.
    2. (set theory) Cardinality.
    3. (statistics) The probability that a statistical test will reject the null hypothesis when the alternative hypothesis is true.
  4. (biblical, in the plural) In Christian angelology, an intermediate level of angels, ranked above archangels, but exact position varies by classification scheme.

Usage notes

  • Adjectives often used with "power": electric, nuclear, optical, mechanical, political, absolute, corporate, institutional, military, economic, solar, magic, magical, huge, physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, sexual, seductive, coercive, erotic, natural, cultural, positive, negative, etc.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:power

Antonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Verb

power (third-person singular simple present powers, present participle powering, simple past and past participle powered)

  1. (transitive) To provide power for (a mechanical or electronic device).
    This CD player is powered by batteries.
  2. (transitive) To hit or kick something forcefully.
    • 2011 February 1, Mandeep Sanghera, “Man Utd 3 - 1 Aston Villa”, in BBC:
      United keeper Edwin van der Sar was the unlikely provider as his clearance found Rooney, who had got ahead of last defender Richard Dunne, and the forward brilliantly controlled a ball coming from over his shoulder before powering a shot past Brad Friedel.

Derived terms

Translations

Adjective

power (comparative more power, superlative most power)

  1. (Singapore, colloquial) Impressive.
    • 2001, Thian, Makan Time:
      Check out the POWER Mee Rebus & Lontong in this newly established Nasi Padang coffee shop at Market Street Carpark.
    • 2005, Bayya, Bayya Eats ... and Other Stuff:
      Their performance is very the Power!
    • 2010, Caihong Lim & Kesheng Lim, Footprints All Over: Love, Happiness,Joy:
      His hokkien is damn power lah!
    • 2015, SGMOJI, Your Ultimate Guide to Locally-Grown Emojis:
      Eh his soccer skills damn power one.

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: large · within · room · #263: power · mother · often · themselves