powerful

powerful, potent, puissant, forceful, forcible are comparable when they mean having or manifesting power to effect great or striking results.
Powerful is applicable to something which stands out from the rest of its kind as exceeding the others in its display of strength or force or in its manifestation of energy; the word also usually implies an effectiveness that has been proved rather than attributed
{

the most powerful ruler of his age

}
{

a powerful fleet

}
{

a powerful influence for good— Walcutt

}
{

a powerful cathartic

}
Potent, though it implies powerfulness, is applicable chiefly to something which derives or seems to derive that character from some hidden or latent virtue or quality rather than from an observable or measurable power or force
{

he exercised a potent spell over her imagination

}
{

how potent is this Oriental blood in Napoleon, in Goethe, in Heine, Victor Hugo— J. R. Lowell

}
{

illusions ... no longer potent because they are no longer really believed— Krutch

}
Puissant, a bookish word, refers typically to persons, to military or naval forces, or to bodies politic and connotes more the outward attributes of power; it commonly suggests a great and abiding strength
{

most . . . mighty, and most puissant Caesar— Shak.

}
{

one of the nation's most puissant labor leaders— Time

}
{

methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep— Milton

}
The last two words of the group, though somewhat more restrained in their suggestion of power, nevertheless imply an ability to effect impressive results.
Forceful stresses the possession or manifestation of force as a quality; it therefore suggests marked vigor or energy or strength regardless of whether it is being exercised or not. The word is applicable even to something which makes no display of effort or violence, provided it impresses its undoubted force on the observer
{

a forceful personality

}
{

he relied more on a forceful clarity to convince his readers than on the brilliant and exciting ambiguities of propagandist eloquence— Huxley

}
{

physically, he suggests at once a forceful spit-and-polish officer— Knight

}
Forcible, on the other hand, suggests the actual exertion of power or force; it often implies the use of physical violence in attaining one's ends
{

forcible disarmament and military occupation can only be temporary— Times Lit. Sup.

}
{

take forcible possession of goods not paid for

}
{

favor forcible measures in treating unruly prisoners

}
Sometimes it is used in place offorceful to add to that term implications of aggressiveness, militancy, or decided potency
{

win a chess game with a series of forcible moves

}
{

more than thirty years have passed and I have seen no forcible young man of letters brave the metropolis— Yeats

}
Analogous words: *able, capable, competent: efficacious, effectual, *effective, efficient: *vigorous, energetic, strenuous
Antonyms: powerless: inefficacious

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Powerful — Pow er*ful, a. 1. Full of power; capable of producing great effects of any kind; potent; mighty; efficacious; intense; as, a powerful man or beast; a powerful engine; a powerful argument; a powerful light; a powerful vessel. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • powerful — I adjective able, able bodied, armipotent, authoritative, autocratic, autocratical, brawny, cogent, commanding, compelling, consequential, controlling, deafening, dominant, dominating, dynamic, effective, effectual, efficacious, empowered,… …   Law dictionary

  • powerful — c.1400, from POWER (Cf. power) (n.) + FUL (Cf. ful). Related: Powerfully …   Etymology dictionary

  • powerful — [adj] strong, effective able, allpowerful, almighty, authoritarian, authoritative, capable, cogent, commanding, compelling, competent, controlling, convincing, dominant, dynamic, effectual, efficacious, energetic, forceful, forcible, impressive,… …   New thesaurus

  • powerful — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ having power. ► ADVERB chiefly dialect ▪ very. DERIVATIVES powerfully adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • powerful — [pou′ər fəl] adj. having much power; strong or influential adv. Dial. very powerfully adv. powerfulness n …   English World dictionary

  • powerful — pow|er|ful W2 [ˈpauəfəl US ˈpaur ] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(important)¦ 2¦(speech/film etc)¦ 3¦(feeling/effect)¦ 4¦(machine/weapon etc)¦ 5¦(physically strong)¦ 6¦(a lot of force)¦ 7¦(medicine)¦ 8¦(team/army etc)¦ 9¦(quality)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • powerful — [[t]pa͟ʊə(r)fʊl[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADJ GRADED A powerful person or organization is able to control or influence people and events. → See also all powerful You re a powerful man people will listen to you. ...Russia and India, two large, powerful countries …   English dictionary

  • powerful — adjective 1 IMPORTANT a powerful person, organization, group etc is able to control and influence events and other people s actions: The president is the most powerful man in America and probably the world. | a powerful consortium of European… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • powerful — pow|er|ful [ paurfl ] adjective *** 1. ) able to influence or control what people do or think: The powerful farm lobby is pressuring Congress to change the law. Recent events are a powerful argument for gun control. a powerful man ─ opposite WEAK …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.