n. pl. au·thor·i·ties
- The power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command,
determine, or judge.
- One that is invested
with this power, especially a government or body of government officials: land
titles issued by the civil authority.
assigned to another; authorization: Deputies were given authority to make arrests.
- A public agency or corporation with
administrative powers in a specified field: a city transit authority.
- An accepted source of expert information
or advice: a noted authority on birds; a reference book often cited as an authority.
quotation or citation from such a source: biblical authorities for a moral
grounds: On what authority do you make such a claim?
conclusive statement or decision that may be taken as a guide or precedent.
Power to influence or persuade resulting from knowledge or experience: political
observers who acquire authority with age.
derived from experience or practice; firm self-assurance: played the sonata
[Middle English auctorite,
from Old French autorite, from Latin auctrits, auctritt-, from auctor, creator.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary
of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.