American English

Definition of authority noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//əˈθɑr‑//
    (pl. authorities)
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  1. 1[uncountable] the power to give orders to people in a position of authority She now has authority over the people who used to be her bosses. Nothing will be done because no one in authority (= who has a position of power) takes the matter seriously. There are very few male authority figures (= people who have power over others) in his movies.
  2. 2[uncountable] authority (to do something) the power or right to do something Only the manager has the authority to sign checks. We have the authority to search this building.
  3. permission
  4. 3[uncountable] official permission to do something It was done without the principal's authority. We acted under the authority of the UN.
  5. organization
  6. 4[countable, usually plural] the people or an organization who have the power to make decisions or who have a particular area of responsibility in a country or region The health authorities are investigating the problem. I have to report this to the authorities. the immigration authorities
  7. knowledge
  8. 5[uncountable] the power to influence people because they respect your knowledge or official position He spoke with authority on the topic. the moral authority to run the country
  9. expert
  10. 6[countable] authority (on something) a person with special knowledge synonym specialist She's an authority on criminal law.
  11. Idioms
    have something on good authority
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    to be able to believe something because you trust the person who gave you the information I have it on good authority that he is going to be promoted.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: authority