authority meaning

[ ɔ:'θɔriti ] Pronunciation:   "authority" in a sentence
Noun: authority  u'thóritee or o'thóritee
  1. The power or right to give orders or make decisions
    "he has the authority to issue warrants"
    - authorization, authorisation [Brit], potency, dominance, say-so 
  2. (usually plural) persons who exercise (administrative) control over others
    "the authorities have issued a curfew" 
  3. An expert whose views are taken as definitive
    "he is an authority on corporate law" 
  4. Freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities
    "she spoke with authority"
    - assurance, self-assurance, confidence, self-confidence, sureness 
  5. An administrative unit of government
    "Tennessee Valley Authority"
    - agency, federal agency, government agency, bureau, office 
  6. Official permission or approval
    "authority for the program was renewed several times"
    - authorization, authorisation [Brit], sanction 
  7. An authoritative written work
    "this book is the final authority on the life of Milton"

Derived forms: authorities

See also: certain, incertain, sure, uncertain, unsure

Type of: administrative body, administrative unit, book, certainty, control, expert, individual, mortal, permission, person, somebody, someone, soul

Encyclopedia: Authority Authority, Civil


See administrative authority.

AmE ; / noun


1 [U]

the official power to give orders to people, make decisions, etc:

in a position of authority

Nothing will be done because no one in authority (= who has a position of power) takes the matter seriously.

Only the manager has the authority to sign cheques.

She now has authority over the people who used to be her bosses.

2 [U]

official permission to do sth:

He was dismissed for signing documents without the authority of his manager.

They were acting under the authority of the UN.

3 [U]

the power to influence people because they respect your knowledge or official position:

As the author of six books on marketing, she speaks with authority on the subject.

4 [C, usually pl.]

the people or an organization who have the power to make decisions or who have a particular area of responsibility in a country or region:

The health authorities are investigating the problem.

5 [C]

a person with special knowledge:

She's an authority on trade law.

n. 1. Power delegated to a person or body to act in a particular way. The person in whom authority is vested is usually called an agent and the person conferring the authority is the principal.
2. A governing body, such as a local authority, charged with power and duty to perform certain functions.
3. A judicial decision or other source of law used as a ground for a legal proposition. See also PERSUASIVE AUTHORITY.


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  1. they have complained to local authorities.
  2. his voice carries the ring of authority.
  3. he ignored the existing lines of authority.
  4. policemen have authority to arrest lawbreakers.
  5. these factories are run by the local authorities.

Related Words

  1. authoritarianisms meaning
  2. authoritative meaning
  3. authoritatively meaning
  4. authoritativeness meaning
  5. authorities meaning
  6. authority bond meaning
  7. authority figure meaning
  8. authority having jurisdiction meaning
  9. authorizable meaning
  10. authorization meaning
PC Version