Definition of “power” - English Dictionary

“power” in English

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uk /paʊər/ us /ˈpaʊ.ɚ/

power noun (CONTROL)

B2 [ U ] ability to control people and events:

I've no power over him - he does what he wants to.
Once nicotine has you in its power, it's very difficult to stop smoking.
She has the power to charm any man she meets.

C1 [ U ] the amount of political control a person or group has in a country:

Does the president have more power than the prime minister?
How long has the Conservative Party been in power?
The army seized power after five days of anti-government demonstrations.

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power noun (STRENGTH)

C1 [ U ] strength:

Our car doesn't have enough power to tow a trailer.
Weightlifters have tremendous power in their arms and legs.
Scientists are working to harness the power of the atom.

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power noun (OFFICIAL RIGHT)

[ U ] an official or legal right to do something:

[ + to infinitive ] I'd like to help but I don't have the power to intervene in this dispute.
It's not in your power to cancel the order.
I can't give you a refund - I'm afraid it's not within my power.
powers [ plural ]


You were acting beyond your powers when you agreed to give her a pay rise.
Visitors to the city are respectfully reminded of the council's powers to remove illegally parked vehicles.

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power noun (ABILITY)

powers [ plural ]

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My mental powers aren't as good as they used to be.

C1 [ U ] a natural skill or an ability to do something:

He was so shocked by what happened to his parents that he lost the power of speech.
[ + to infinitive ] The surgeon did everything in her power to save him.


C1 [ C ] a person, organization, or country that has control over others, often because of wealth, importance, or great military strength:

Spain was an important military power in the 16th century.
Germany is on its way to becoming a world power with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
She is an increasingly important power in the company.

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power noun (MATHEMATICS)

[ S ] specialized mathematics the number of times that a number is to be multiplied by itself:

2 to the fourth power is 2 times 2 times 2 times 2, which equals 16.
3 to the power 4 is usually written as 34.


uk /paʊər/ us /ˈpaʊ.ɚ/

(Definition of “power” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“power” in American English

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us /ˈpɑʊ·ər/

power noun (CONTROL)

[ U ] the ability or right to control people and events, or to influence the way people act or think in important ways:

The election results showed that the Democrats had lost power, with Republicans taking over five more Democratic seats.


[ C ] someone or something, such as an organization or country, that has control over others, often because of authority, importance, or wealth:

She is a power in the field of medical education.

power noun (NATURAL ABILITY)

[ C/U ] a natural skill or ability to do something:

[ U ] She was so shocked that for a moment she lost the power of speech.
[ C ] The doctor did everything in her power to save him.
[ C ] More, though, it is an expression of the artist's power to create.

power noun (STRENGTH)

[ U ] physical strength or force:

He’s a good baseball player – he hits with a lot of power.

power noun (ENERGY)

physics [ U ] Power is also the rate at which work is done or at which energy is produced, measured in watts.

[ U ] Power is also electricity:

Whenever there’s a storm in these parts, you can expect a power outage (= a loss of electrical power).

power noun (MATHEMATICS)

mathematics [ U ] specialized the number of times that a number is to be multiplied by itself, or the number that is the result of multiplying a number by itself:

Three to the fourth power can be written 34.

power noun (NATION)

world history /ˈpɑʊ·ər/ [ C ] an independent nation

powerverb [ T ]

us /ˈpɑʊ·ər/

power verb [ T ] (ENERGY)

to provide something with the energy it needs to operate:

[ T ] Many buses and trucks are powered by diesel fuel.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “power” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“power” in Business English

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uk /ˈpaʊər/ us

[ U ] the ability to control or influence people, organizations, events, etc.:

Shareholder power is a crucial part of how any capitalist society works.
power over sb/sth Most CEOs have a great deal of power over the boards of directors.
the power to do sth Oil prices still have the power to hurt the world economy.
The bitter power struggle at the top of the company had a negative effect on the value of its shares.
The balance of power in global markets is beginning to shift.
be in power The last government was in power for over a decade.

[ C or U ] an official or legal authority to do something:

have the power to do sth The regulator has the power to block a deal that would be damaging to consumers.
emergency/executive/special powers The Prime Minister was set to invoke emergency powers to handle the distribution of petrol during the crisis.

[ C ] a group, country, or organization that has control over others, especially because of financial or military strength:

a world/global power China is fast developing into a major global power.
a military/political power

[ U ] the strength or influence of something in a particular market or activity:

We are seeing a shift in economic power from Europe to Asia.
I believe he has seriously underestimated the power of the brand.

[ U ] energy that is produced and used to make things work:

The agency is running a campaign to try and turn public opinion in favour of nuclear power.
a power cut/failure/outage A power outage in Quebec left 6 million people in the dark.

[ U ] IT the ability of a machine, computer, etc. to work effectively:

The system is a way of measuring how much computer-processing power is needed to handle all the hits to a customer's site.

powerverb [ T ]

uk /ˈpaʊər/ us

to provide a machine, computer, vehicle, etc. with the energy it needs to work effectively:

be powered by sth
There is increasing interest in cars powered by alternative fuels, such as ethanol or clean diesel.
Most computers are now powered by Intel chips.

to make something happen in a faster or more effective way:

The supermarket's strong performance was powered by a 39% increase in sales of organic produce.

Phrasal verb(s)

poweradjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈpaʊər/ us

operated by electricity or a motor:

power tools
a power drill

used to describe something that shows that you are a busy important person in a company:

She was wearing her trademark power suit for the meeting.

(Definition of “power” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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