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[pou-er-fuh l] /ˈpaʊ ər fəl/
having or exerting great power or force.
physically strong, as a person:
a large, powerful athlete.
producing great physical effects, as a machine or a blow.
potent; efficacious:
a powerful drug.
having great effectiveness, as a speech, speaker, description, reason, etc.
having great power, authority, or influence; mighty:
a powerful nation.
Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. great in number or amount:
a powerful lot of money.
Origin of powerful
1350-1400; Middle English powarfull. See power, -ful
Related forms
powerfully, adverb
powerfulness, noun
overpowerful, adjective
overpowerfully, adverb
overpowerfulness, noun
quasi-powerful, adjective
quasi-powerfully, adverb
superpowerful, adjective
ultrapowerful, adjective
unpowerful, adjective
1. forceful, strong. Powerful, mighty, potent suggest great force or strength. Powerful suggests capability of exerting great force or overcoming strong resistance: a powerful machine like a bulldozer. Mighty, now chiefly rhetorical, implies uncommon or overwhelming strength of power: a mighty army. Potent implies great natural or inherent power: a potent influence. 5. influential, convincing, forcible, cogent, effective.
1. weak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for powerful
  • These entrepreneurs often operate outside not only the powerful state-controlled companies, but outside the country's laws.
  • Yet teens gravitate toward peers for another, more powerful reason: to invest in the future rather than the past.
  • Belief is powerful medicine, even if the treatment itself is a sham.
  • Forget the trade unions: the government has made a much more powerful enemy.
  • Such powerful storms are exactly what scientists predict to become more frequent as the climate changes.
  • Personal supercomputers may not be as powerful as the mighty mainframes, but they are still leagues above their desktop cousins.
  • In fight for federal student aid, home-school lobby has powerful friends.
  • The lectures are interesting, but the big draw is the chance to talk to other powerful people in the corridors.
  • The powerful sound evokes the deity to visit voodoo mask dances.
  • Hansen builds a powerful case for global warming based on the geologic record and simple thermodynamics.
British Dictionary definitions for powerful


having great power, force, potency, or effect
extremely effective or efficient in action: a powerful drug, a powerful lens
(dialect) large or great: a powerful amount of trouble
(dialect) extremely; very: he ran powerful fast
Derived Forms
powerfully, adverb
powerfulness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for powerful

c.1400, from power (n.) + -ful. Meaning "of great quality or number" is from 1811; colloquial sense of "exceedingly" (adv.) is from 1822. Related: Powerfully. Thornton ("American Glossary") notes powerful as "Much used by common people in the sense of very," along with monstrous and cites curious expressions such as devilish good, monstrous pretty (1799), dreadful polite, cruel pretty, abominable fine (1803), "or when a young lady admires a lap dog for being so vastly small and declares him prodigious handsome" (1799).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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powerful in Technology

A language combining functional programming and logic programming, using "angelic Powerdomains".

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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