Definition of authority noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ɔːˈθɒrəti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈθɔːrəti//
    , NAmE//əˈθɑːrəti//
    (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.
  2. 2  [uncountable] authority (to do something) the power or right to do something Only the Board has the authority to approve the budget. 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 see also local authority
  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. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French autorite, from Latin auctoritas, from auctor, from augere ‘increase, originate, promote’.Extra examples Central government has extensive authority over teachers. Copernicus justified his innovation by citing respected authorities. German authorities arrested the author of the computer virus. He acted without any legitimate authority. He assumed full authority as tsar in 1689. He bore an air of authority. He had permission from the proper authorities. He refuses to relinquish authority over the design process. He took the car without authority. I need to talk to someone in authority. Immigration authorities refused him entry to the country. Parents have the authority to discipline their children. She had challenged my authority once too often. She holds a position of authority in the local church. She’s a leading authority on genetics. Some legal experts think the agency may have exceeded its authority. The commander-in-chief exercises supreme authority within his zone. The government is urging education authorities to spend less money. The health authority denied negligence. The local authority has not granted planning permission. The new manager obviously felt the need to demonstrate her authority. The system notifies the authorities when a security breach occurs. These men denied the divine authority of the Church. This can only be done under the authority of the government minister. adult authority figures such as parents and teachers the right of law enforcement authorities to take and retain photographs He has come to be something of a leading authority on the subject. Nothing will be done because no one in authority takes the matter seriously. She is an authority on early musical instruments. She now has authority over the people who used to be her bosses. The clause limits the directors’ authority to allot shares. The government was accused of selling the land without formal authority. The minister must answer to Parliament for anything his officials have done under his authority. You will need the written authority of the registered owner.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 American Dictionary entry: authority