Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: DAILY LIFE

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: poudre, from Latin pulvis 'dust'

powder

1 noun
     
pow‧der1
1 [uncountable and countable]D a dry substance in the form of very small grains:
curry powder
talcum powder
Grind the sugar into a powder.
The paint is supplied in powder form.
milk/custard etc powder (=a powder that you add water to in order to change it into a liquid)
2 [uncountable] also face powder a type of powder that you put on your face in order to make it look smoother and to give it more colour
3

a powder keg

a dangerous situation or place where violence or trouble could suddenly start:
Since the riot, the city has been a powder keg waiting to explode.
4 [uncountable] also powder snowHEM dry light snow:
There's a foot of powder on the slopes.
5 [uncountable] gunpowder
6

keep your powder dry

to wait calmly until you see how a situation develops before deciding what to do
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