1 [pou-der]
any solid substance reduced to a state of fine, loose particles by crushing, grinding, disintegration, etc.
a preparation in this form, as gunpowder or face powder.
Also, powder snow. Skiing. loose, usually fresh snow that is not granular, wet, or packed.
verb (used with object)
to reduce to powder; pulverize.
to sprinkle or cover with powder: She powdered the cookies with confectioners' sugar.
to apply powder to (the face, skin, etc.) as a cosmetic.
to sprinkle or strew as if with powder: A light snowfall powdered the landscape.
to ornament in this fashion, as with small objects scattered over a surface: a dress lightly powdered with sequins.
verb (used without object)
to use powder as a cosmetic.
to become pulverized.

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English poudre < Old French < Latin pulver- (stem of pulvis) dust, powder; akin to pollen; (v.) Middle English poudren < Old French poudrer, derivative of poudre

powderer, noun
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2 [pou-der]
verb (used without object)
British Dialect. to rush.
British Dialect. a sudden, frantic, or impulsive rush.
take a powder, Slang. to leave in a hurry; depart without taking leave, as to avoid something unpleasant: He took a powder and left his mother to worry about his gambling debts. Also, take a runout powder.

1625–35; origin uncertain

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
powder (ˈpaʊdə)
1.  a solid substance in the form of tiny loose particles
2.  any of various preparations in this form, such as gunpowder, face powder, or soap powder
3.  fresh loose snow, esp when considered as skiing terrain
4.  slang (US), (Canadian) take a powder to run away or disappear
5.  to turn into powder; pulverize
6.  (tr) to cover or sprinkle with or as if with powder
[C13: from Old French poldre, from Latin pulvis dust]

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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from O.Fr. poudre (13c.), earlier pouldre (11c.), from L. pulverem (nom. pulvis) "dust" (see pollen). In the sense "powdered cosmetic," it is recorded from 1570s. In figurative sense, powder keg is first attested 1855. Powder room, euphemistic for "women's lavatory,"
is attested from 1941. Powder puff first recorded 1704; as a symbol of femaleness or effeminacy, in use from at least 1930s. Phrase take a powder "scram, vanish," is from 1920, perhaps from the notion of taking a laxative medicine, so one has to leave in a hurry; or from a magician's magical powder, which made things disappear.

c.1300, from O.Fr. poudrer, from poudre (see powder (n.))
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

powder pow·der (pou'dər)

  1. A dry mass of pulverized or finely dispersed solid particles.

  2. Any of various medicinal or cosmetic preparations in the form of powder.

  3. A single dose of a powdered drug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
In the bowl was a deep blue powder, made finer and finer with each grind of the
Consumer demand for chocolate-which is derived from cocoa powder made from the
  seeds of the cacao tree-is on the rise.
Glaciers grind bedrock into a powder, with a consistency similar to flour,
  which is lifted into the air by winds.
The researchers say the ochre was probably rubbed on quartzite slabs to create
  a fine powder.
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