authority - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] someone who is considered an expert in a particular subject
    authority on:

    Charles was an authority on antique musical instruments.

    1. a.
      something such as a book that people respect because it contains a lot of knowledge about a particular subject
      authority on:

      The book is widely acknowledged to be the authority on regional English expressions.

  2. 2

    the authorities

    [plural] the police or people in other official organizations with legal power to make people obey laws or rules

    The girl told the authorities that she had been kidnapped from her home.

    The French authorities have refused to issue him a visa.

  3. 3
    [countable] an organization or institution that controls something, often a public service

    She took her complaint to the local health authority.

    The rules are set by the passenger transport authority.

    See also local authority
  4. 4
    [uncountable] the power to make decisions or tell people what to do

    In practice it is difficult for the President to exercise his authority.

    have the authority to do something:

    They don’t have the authority to close the canal.

    authority over:

    Parents have legal authority over their children.

    1. a.
      the power to influence other people because they respect your opinions or knowledge
      with authority:

      It is a subject on which she can write with authority.

    2. b.
      the power to make other people obey you because of a quality in the way you speak or behave

      There was a tone of authority in her voice.

  5. 5
    [uncountable] formal official permission to do something

    He believed he had authority to ride the bike.