Pow"er, n. [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."
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."
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.
Never such a power . . .Shak.
Was levied in the body of a land.
7. A large quantity; a great number; as, a
power o good things.
(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
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, 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 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.
(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.
(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.
The guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness . . . into a received belief.Shak.
(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.
(Law) An authority enabling a person to dispose of an interest vested either in himself or in another person; ownership by appointment.
13. Hence, vested authority to act in a given case; as, the business was referred to a committee with
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 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 cordinates of any point in that expression which being put equal to zero forms the equation of the curve; as, x2 + y2 - 100 is the power of the point
x, y, relative to the circle x2 + y2 - 100 = 0.
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Sat 23rd February 2019