Hypertext Webster Gateway: "authority"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Authority \Au*thor"i*ty\, n.; pl. {Authorities}. [OE. autorite,
auctorite, F. autorit['e], fr. L. auctoritas, fr. auctor. See
{Author}, n.]
1. Legal or rightful power; a right to command or to act;
power exercised buy a person in virtue of his office or
trust; dominion; jurisdiction; authorization; as, the
authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over
children; the authority of a court.

Thus can the demigod, Authority, Make us pay down
for our offense. --Shak.

By what authority doest thou these things ? --Matt.
xxi. 23.

2. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or
command; as, the local authorities of the States; the
military authorities. [Chiefly in the plural.]

3. The power derived from opinion, respect, or esteem;
influence of character, office, or station, or mental or
moral superiority, and the like; claim to be believed or
obeyed; as, an historian of no authority; a magistrate of
great authority.

4. That which, or one who, is claimed or appealed to in
support of opinions, actions, measures, etc. Hence:
(a) Testimony; witness. ``And on that high authority had
believed.'' --Milton.
(b) A precedent; a decision of a court, an official
declaration, or an opinion, saying, or statement
worthy to be taken as a precedent.
(c) A book containing such a statement or opinion, or the
author of the book.
(d) Justification; warrant.

Wilt thou be glass wherein it shall discern
Authority for sin, warrant for blame. --Shak.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

authority
n 1: the power or right to give orders or make decisions; "he has
the authority to issue warrants"; "deputies are given
authorization to make arrests" [syn: {authorization}, {authorisation},
{dominance}, {say-so}]
2: (usually plural) persons who exercise (administrative)
control over others; "the authorities have issued a
curfew"
3: an expert whose views are taken as definitive; "he is an
authority on corporate law"
4: freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities;
"his assurance in his superiority did not make him
popular"; "after that failure he lost his confidence";
"she spoke with authority" [syn: {assurance}, {self-assurance},
{confidence}, {self-confidence}, {sureness}]
5: an administrative unit of government; "the Central
Intelligence Agency"; "the Census Bureau"; "Office of
Management and Budget"; "Tennessee Valley Authority" [syn:
{agency}, {federal agency}, {government agency}, {bureau},
{office}]
6: official permission or approval; "authority for the program
was renewed several times" [syn: {authorization}, {authorisation},
{sanction}]
7: an authoritative written work; "this book is the final
authority on the life of Milton"


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