Is it farther or further?


[uh-thawr-i-tee, uh-thor-] /əˈθɔr ɪ ti, əˈθɒr-/
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
Related forms
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. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for authorities
  • Check with the relevant authorities before attempting any controls.
  • Notice that this idea is not limiting involvement of the authorities to exercise of police power to arrest and imprison.
  • Sports authorities fear that a new form of doping will be undetectable and thus much less preventable.
  • They would rather hand it in to authorities and not see it harm society in any way.
  • For one thing, authorities commonly have a bias toward action, if only to justify their own existence.
  • No major injuries were reported but the aftershocks may continue for weeks, according to authorities.
  • authorities were carefully watching levees set up around some communities to hold back floodwaters.
  • The authorities released her quickly, without pressing charges.
  • The map will help authorities plan emergency response plans, showing which areas may need to be evacuated.
  • The authorities have repeatedly pressured him to identify his informants.
British Dictionary definitions for authorities


noun (pl) -ties
the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others
(often pl) 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: a man of authority
an expert or an authoritative written work in a particular field: he is an authority on Ming china
evidence or testimony: we have it on his authority that she is dead
confidence resulting from great expertise: the violinist lacked authority in his cadenza
(capital when part of a name) a public board or corporation exercising governmental authority in administering some enterprise: Independent Broadcasting Authority
  1. a judicial decision, statute, or rule of law that establishes a principle; precedent
  2. legal permission granted to a person to perform a specified act
Word Origin
C14: from French autorité, from Latin auctōritas, from auctorauthor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for authorities



early 13c., autorite "book or quotation that settles an argument," from Old French auctorité "authority, prestige, right, permission, dignity, gravity; the Scriptures" (12c.; Modern French autorité), from Latin auctoritatem (nominative auctoritas) "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command," from auctor "master, leader, author" (see author (n.)).

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for authority

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for authorities

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with authorities