The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Power \Pow"er\, n. [OE. pouer, poer, OF. poeir, pooir, F.
pouvoir, n. & v., fr. LL. potere, for L. posse, potesse, to
be able, to have power. See Possible, Potent, and cf.
1. Ability to act, regarded as latent or inherent; the
faculty of doing or performing something; capacity for
action or performance; capability of producing an effect,
whether physical or moral: potency; might; as, a man of
great power; the power of capillary attraction; money
gives power. "One next himself in power, and next in
2. Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength,
force, or energy in action; as, the power of steam in
moving an engine; the power of truth, or of argument, in
producing conviction; the power of enthusiasm. "The power
of fancy." --Shak.
3. Capacity of undergoing or suffering; fitness to be acted
upon; susceptibility; -- called also passive power; as,
great power of endurance.
Power, then, is active and passive; faculty is
active power or capacity; capacity is passive power.
4. The exercise of a faculty; the employment of strength; the
exercise of any kind of control; influence; dominion;
sway; command; government.
Power is no blessing in itself but when it is
employed to protect the innocent. --Swift.
5. The agent exercising an ability to act; an individual
invested with authority; an institution, or government,
which exercises control; as, the great powers of Europe;
hence, often, a superhuman agent; a spirit; a divinity.
"The powers of darkness." --Milton.
And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
6. A military or naval force; an army or navy; a great host.
Never such a power . . .
Was levied in the body of a land. --Shak.
7. A large quantity; a great number; as, a power o? good
things. [Colloq.] --Richardson.
(a) The rate at which mechanical energy is exerted or
mechanical work performed, as by an engine or other
machine, or an animal, working continuously; as, an
engine of twenty horse power.
Note: The English unit of power used most commonly is the
horse power. See Horse power.
(b) A mechanical agent; that from which useful mechanical
energy is derived; as, water power; steam power; hand
(c) Applied force; force producing motion or pressure; as,
the power applied at one and of a lever to lift a
weight at the other end.
Note: This use in mechanics, of power as a synonym for force,
is improper and is becoming obsolete.
(d) A machine acted upon by an animal, and serving as a
motor to drive other machinery; as, a dog power.
Note: Power is used adjectively, denoting, driven, or adapted
to be driven, by machinery, and not actuated directly
by the hand or foot; as, a power lathe; a power loom; a
9. (Math.) The product arising from the multiplication of a
number into itself; as, a square is the second power, and
a cube is third power, of a number.
10. (Metaph.) Mental or moral ability to act; one of the
faculties which are possessed by the mind or soul; as,
the power of thinking, reasoning, judging, willing,
fearing, hoping, etc. --I. Watts.
The guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of
my powers, drove the grossness . . . into a
received belief. --Shak.
11. (Optics) The degree to which a lens, mirror, or any
optical instrument, magnifies; in the telescope, and
usually in the microscope, the number of times it
multiplies, or augments, the apparent diameter of an
object; sometimes, in microscopes, the number of times it
multiplies the apparent surface.
12. (Law) An authority enabling a person to dispose of an
interest vested either in himself or in another person;
ownership by appointment. --Wharton.
13. Hence, vested authority to act in a given case; as, the
business was referred to a committee with power.
Note: Power may be predicated of inanimate agents, like the
winds and waves, electricity and magnetism,
gravitation, etc., or of animal and intelligent beings;
and when predicated of these beings, it may indicate
physical, mental, or moral ability or capacity.
Mechanical powers. See under Mechanical.
Power loom, or Power press. See Def. 8
Power of attorney. See under Attorney.
Power of a point (relative to a given curve) (Geom.), the
result of substituting the coordinates of any point in
that expression which being put equal to zero forms the
equation of the curve; as, x^2 + y^2 - 100 is the
power of the point x, y, relative to the circle x^2 +
y^2 - 100 = 0.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Mechanical \Me*chan"ic*al\, a. [From Mechanic, a.]
1. Pertaining to, governed by, or in accordance with,
mechanics, or the laws of motion; pertaining to the
quantitative relations of force and matter on a
macroscopic scale, as distinguished from mental,
vital, chemical, electrical, electronic, atomic
etc.; as, mechanical principles; a mechanical theory;
especially, using only the interactions of solid parts
against each other; as mechanical brakes, in contrast to
[1913 Webster +PJC]
2. Of or pertaining to a machine or to machinery or tools;
made or formed by a machine or with tools; as, mechanical
precision; mechanical products.
We have also divers mechanical arts. --Bacon.
3. Done as if by a machine; uninfluenced by will or emotion;
proceeding automatically, or by habit, without special
intention or reflection; as, mechanical singing;
mechanical verses; mechanical service.
4. Made and operated by interaction of forces without a
directing intelligence; as, a mechanical universe.
5. Obtained by trial, by measurements, etc.; approximate;
empirical. See the 2d Note under Geometric.
Mechanical effect, effective power; useful work exerted, as
by a machine, in a definite time.
Mechanical engineering. See the Note under Engineering.
Mechanical maneuvers (Mil.), the application of mechanical
appliances to the mounting, dismounting, and moving of
Mechanical philosophy, the principles of mechanics applied
to the investigation of physical phenomena.
Mechanical powers, certain simple instruments, such as the
lever and its modifications (the wheel and axle and the
pulley), the inclined plane with its modifications (the
screw and the wedge), which convert a small force acting
through a great space into a great force acting through a
small space, or vice versa, and are used separately or in
Mechanical solution (Math.), a solution of a problem by any
art or contrivance not strictly geometrical, as by means
of the ruler and compasses, or other instruments.