Middle English, from Anglo-French poer, pouer, from poer to be able, from Vulgar Latin *potēre, alteration of Latin posse — more at potent
1 a (1): ability to act or produce an effect (2): ability to get extra-base hits (3): capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect b: legal or official authority, capacity, or right2 a: possession of control, authority, or influence over others b: one having such power; specifically : a sovereign state c: a controlling group : establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be darchaic : a force of armed men echiefly dialect : a large number or quantity3 a: physical might b: mental or moral efficacy c: political control or influence4plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy5 a: the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product <5 to the third power is 125>; also : the product itself <8 is a power of 2> b: cardinal number 26 a: a source or means of supplying energy; especially : electricity b: motive power c: the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred7: magnification 2b8: scope 39: the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true synonyms power authority jurisdiction control command sway dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, permissive authority, or substantial influence <the power to mold public opinion>. authority implies the granting of power for a specific purpose within specified limits <gave her attorney the authority to manage her estate>. jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits <the bureau having jurisdiction over alcohol and firearms>. control stresses the power to direct and restrain <you are responsible for the students under your control>. command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience <the army officer in command>. sway suggests the extent or scope of exercised power or influence <an empire that extended its sway over the known world>. dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority <given dominion over all the animals>. synonyms power force energy strength might mean the ability to exert effort. power may imply latent or exerted physical, mental, or spiritual ability to act or be acted upon <the awesome power of flowing water>. force implies the actual effective exercise of power <used enough force to push the door open>. energy applies to power expended or capable of being transformed into work <a worker with boundless energy>. strength applies to the quality or property of a person or thing that makes possible the exertion of force or the withstanding of strain, pressure, or attack <use weight training to build your strength>. might implies great or overwhelming power or strength <the belief that might makes right>.