Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: auctorité, from Latin auctoritas 'opinion, decision, power', from auctor; AUTHOR1


au‧thor‧i‧ty W1 plural authorities


[uncountable] the power you have because of your official position:
in authority
Could I speak to someone in authority (=who has a position of power) please?
authority over
Several countries claim authority over the islands.
authority to do something
The court held that school officials have the authority to dismiss teachers.

the authorities

the people or organizations that are in charge of a particular country or area:
an agreement between the US and Columbian authorities


[countable] an official organization or a government department that has the power to make decisions, and has particular responsibilities:
East Sussex Education Authority
the San Diego Water Authority
Welsh health authorities face a £13m deficit this year.


[countable] someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose knowledge and opinions are greatly respected
authority on
Mr Li is a leading authority on Chinese food.


[uncountable and countable] official permission to do something
under the authority of somebody
The attack took place under the authority of the UN security council.
without somebody's authority
No one may enter without my authority.

authority figure

someone who has a position of power, especially because of their job:
teenage rebellion against authority figures

personal quality

[uncountable] a quality in the way you speak or behave which makes people obey you:
Jack's air of quiet authority

I have it on good authority

used to say that you are sure that something is true because you trust the person who told you about it

speak with authority

to be sure of what you are saying, because of your knowledge or experience

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