If a servant complained of being abused, his master had no power to retain him.

But I have a secret dread of the character and power of Alcibiades.

Has this fearful pestilence no power to restrain the appetites and passions of the people?

Then I shall have to put it out of your power to carry out your threat.

He was forced to admit that the girl still had power to trouble him.

Our peace with the power with whom we had been engaged had also been concluded.

All others lay claim to power limited only by their own will.

By whom, let us ask, had this Minister been brought into power?

It alone has the power to provide revenues for the Government.

It is a danger that lurks and hides in the sources and fountains of power in every state.


c.1300, "ability; ability to act or do; strength, vigor, might," especially in battle; "efficacy; control, mastery, lordship, dominion; legal power or authority; authorization; military force, an army," from Anglo-French pouair, Old French povoir, noun use of the infinitive, "to be able," earlier podir (9c.), from Vulgar Latin *potere, from Latin potis "powerful" (see potent).

Meaning "one who has power" is late 14c. Meaning "specific ability or capacity" is from early 15c. Meaning "a state or nation with regard to international authority or influence" [OED] is from 1726. Used for "a large number of" from 1660s. Meaning "energy available for work is from 1727. Sense of "electrical supply" is from 1896.

Phrase the powers that be is from Rom. xiii:1. As a statement wishing good luck, more power to (someone) is recorded from 1842. A power play in ice hockey so called by 1940. Power failure is from 1911; power steering from 1921.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.