- the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others
- (often plural) a person or group of people having this power, such as a government, police force, etc
- a position that commands such a power or right (often in the phrase in authority)
- such a power or right delegated, esp from one person to another; authorization: she has his authority
- the ability to influence or control others
- an expert or an authoritative written work in a particular field
- evidence or testimony
- confidence resulting from great expertise
- (capital when part of a name) a public board or corporation exercising governmental authority in administering some enterprise: Independent Broadcasting Authority
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- [uncountable] the right, power, or ability to control, command, or decide.
- [uncountable] power or right officially given;
- Government[countable] a body of persons to whom the right to command or decide issues is given, as a government.
- Government Usually, authorities. [plural] persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law;
government:[countable]surrendered to the authorities.
- an accepted source of information or advice:[countable]That book is the authority on the subject.
- [countable] an expert on a subject: Ask questions of a real authority on baseball.
- [uncountable] forcefulness;
showing strong belief or conviction: speaks with authority when he lectures.
- have it on good authority, [~ + that clause] to have information from a reliable source:I have it on good authority that she is about to announce her candidacy.
- the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes;
the right to control, command, or determine.
- a power or right delegated or given;
authorization:Who has the authority to grant permission?
- Governmenta person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency.
- GovernmentUsually, authorities. persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law;
government:They finally persuaded the authorities that they were not involved in espionage.
- an accepted source of information, advice, etc.
- a quotation or citation from such a source.
- an expert on a subject:He is an authority on baseball.
- persuasive force;
conviction:She spoke with authority.
- a statute, court rule, or judicial decision that establishes a rule or principle of law;
- right to respect or acceptance of one's word, command, thought, etc.;
commanding influence:the authority of a parent; the authority of a great writer.
- mastery in execution or performance, as of a work of art or literature or a piece of music.
- a warrant for action;
- Latin. See author, -ity
- Old French
- Latin auctōritās; replacing Middle English autorite
- earlier auct(h)oritie 1200–50
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged rule, power, sway. Authority, control, influence denote a power or right to direct the actions or thoughts of others. Authority is a power or right, usually because of rank or office, to issue commands and to punish for violations:to have authority over subordinates.Control is either power or influence applied to the complete and successful direction or manipulation of persons or things:to be in control of a project.Influence is a personal and unofficial power derived from deference of others to one's character, ability, or station;
it may be exerted unconsciously or may operate through persuasion:to have influence over one's friends.
- 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged sovereign, arbiter.