[uh-thawr-i-tee, uh-thor-]
noun, plural authorities.
the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
a power or right delegated or given; authorization: Who has the authority to grant permission?
a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency.
Usually, 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; a ruling.
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; justification.
testimony; witness.

1200–50; earlier auct(h)oritie < Latin auctōritās; replacing Middle English autorite < Old French < L. See author, -ity

antiauthority, adjective

1. 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. sovereign, arbiter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
authority (ɔːˈθɒrɪtɪ)
n , pl -ties
1.  the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others
2.  (often plural) a person or group of people having this power, such as a government, police force, etc
3.  a position that commands such a power or right (often in the phrase in authority)
4.  such a power or right delegated, esp from one person to another; authorization: she has his authority
5.  the ability to influence or control others: a man of authority
6.  an expert or an authoritative written work in a particular field: he is an authority on Ming china
7.  evidence or testimony: we have it on his authority that she is dead
8.  confidence resulting from great expertise: the violinist lacked authority in his cadenza
9.  (capital when part of a name) a public board or corporation exercising governmental authority in administering some enterprise: Independent Broadcasting Authority
10.  law
 a.  a judicial decision, statute, or rule of law that establishes a principle; precedent
 b.  legal permission granted to a person to perform a specified act
[C14: from French autorité, from Latin auctōritas, from auctorauthor]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., autorite "book or quotation that settles an argument," from O.Fr. auctorité (12c.; Mod.Fr. autorité), from L. auctoritatem (nom. auctoritas) "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command," from auctor "master, leader, author" (see author). Usually
spelled with a -c- in English till 16c., when it was dropped, in imitation of the French. Meaning "power to enforce obedience" is from late 14c.; meaning "people in authority" is from 1610s. Authorities "those in charge, those with police powers" is recorded from mid-19c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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