Power (word)

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This article is about Power (word). For other uses of the term Power, please see Power (disambiguation).

Power is an English-language word over-loaded with meanings in several knowledge domains and in popular culture. The word came down through Middle English, where it was derived from Old French poeir or VLat potere("to be able"). The King James Bible, which appeared in 1611, was translated using the word power more than two hundred verses. As of 2000, the American Heritage Dictionary (3rd Ed.) provided sixteen distinct definitions for the English word Power:

  1. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
  2. A specific capacity, faculty or aptitude. Often used in the plural.
  3. Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might. See synonyms at the entry for strength.
  4. The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.
  5. A person, group or nation having great influence or control over others.
  6. The might of a nation, political organization, or similar group.
  7. Forcefulness; effectiveness.
  8. A large number or amount (chiefly used in Upper Southern USA).
  9. The energy or motive force by which a physical machine is operated. The capacity of a machine to operate. Electrical or mechanical energy, especially as used to assist or replace human energy. Electricity supplied to a home, building or community.
  10. In physics, the rate at which work is done , expressed as the amount of work per unit time and commonly measured in units such as watt or horsepower.
  11. In electronics, The product of applied potential difference and current in a direct-current circuit. The product of the effective values of the voltage and current with the cosine of the phase angle between current and voltage in an alternating-current circuit.
  12. In mathematics, the number of elements in a finite set. See exponent.
  13. In statistics, the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis where it is false.
  14. A measure of the magnification of an optical instrument, such as a telescope.
  15. In theology, powers: The sixth of the nine orders of angels
  16. An armed force (now archaic).

And when used as an adjective:

  1. Of or relating to political, social or economic control.
  2. Operated with mechanical or electrical energy in place of bodily exertion, as in "a power tool".
  3. Of or relating to the generation or transmission of electricity.

When used informally:

  1. Of or relating to influential business or professional practices

When used as an idiom:

  1. "Powers that be", meaning those who hold effective power in a system or situation