Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “authority”

See all translations

authority

noun uk   /ɔːˈθɒr.ɪ.ti/ us    /əˈθɔːr.ɪ.t̬i/

authority noun (POWER)

B2 [U] the moral or legal right or ability to control: The United Nations has used/exerted/exercised its authority to restore peace in the area. We need to get the support of someone in authority (= an important or high-ranking person). They've been acting illegally and without authority (= permission) from the council. [+ to infinitive] I'll give my lawyers authority (= permission) to act on my behalf. He has no authority over (= ability to control) his students. She spoke with authority (= as if she was in control or had special knowledge).C1 [C] a group of people with official responsibility for a particular area of activity: the health authority the local housing authoritythe authorities [plural] the group of people with official legal power to make decisions or make people obey the laws in a particular area, such as the police or a local government department: I'm going to report these potholes to the authorities.
More examples

authority noun (EXPERT)

C2 [C] an expert on a subject: She's a world authority on 19th-century Irish history.
(Definition of authority from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of authority?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “authority” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

juggernaut

a very large, heavy truck

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

crossfit noun

March 23, 2015
high-intensity strength training Two women in strappy dresses discussed how much weight they could snatch

Read More