influence


influence
influence n Influence, authority, prestige, weight, credit are comparable when they mean power exerted over the minds or acts of others either without apparent effort or as the result of the qualities, the position, or the reputation of the person or thing that exerts this power.
Influence suggests a flowing from one thing into another of something imperceptible or impalpable; this connotation is retained when the word implies the effect or effects which one person or thing insensibly has on another or the ascendancy which one person or thing similarly acquires over another
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he was not strong enough to resist the influence of bad companions

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we find primitive men thinking that almost everything . . . can exert influence of some sort— James

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as provost of the Swedish clergymen he exercised a quickening influence over all the Swedish congregations— Genzmer

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However influence often loses this implication of insensible or unconscious operation and suggests instead the conscious use of personal power or, sometimes, of underhanded means to determine the acts of another; in this sense it often follows the verb use or one of its synonyms
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use undue influence over a person making a will

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used his influence in getting a bill through a legis- lature

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Authority originally was applied to one (as a preacher, teacher, or writer) or to writings or utterances having the power to compel belief or to win acceptance. In such cases the word usually imputed great learning, great wisdom, or divine inspiration to the person or his work
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by turning o'er authorities, I have ... made familiar to me . . . the blest infusions that dwell in vegetives, in metals, stones— Shak.

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This sense persists and authority is still applicable to a person or publication that is able or qualified to gain credence or to inspire belief in its authoritativeness
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do not cite this historian; he is not an authority

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an economist should form an independent judgment on currency questions but an ordinary mortal had better follow authorityRussell

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scholars who held that Cicero was an unchallengeable "authority"—Highet

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From this use mainly, but also from its other sense (see POWER 3), authority has come to be applied also to the power resident in a person or thing that is able because of his or its inherent qualities to win the devotion or allegiance of men and to gain rather than exact their obedience and belief
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a book of manifest authority

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that personal authority, which, far more than any legal or constitutional device, was the true secret of his later power— Buchan

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a doctrine that has acquired authority in our own time— Alexander

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some of the new philosophies undermine the authority of science, as some of the older systems undermined the authority of religion— Inge

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to face a good orchestra with inward and outward authority and assurance— Burk

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Prestige, in contrast with authority, implies the power to gain ascendancy over the minds of men and to command their admiration for distinguished and superior performance, or for conspicuous excellence in its kind
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nothing more affects the prestige of a power than its dramatic and rapid defeat in the field— Belloc

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the almost magical prestige that had belonged to the original humanists— Huxley

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such lustre—or prestige or mana—as individual writers possess— Times Lit. Sup.

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Weight denotes measurable influence, especially in determining the acts of others
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Mrs. Hawthorne's authoritative air was beginning to have some weight with himArchibald Marshall

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men who take the lead, and whose opinions and wishes have great weight with the others— Frazer

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Credit (see also BELIEF 1) denotes influence that arises from one's reputation for inspiring confidence or admiration
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Buckingham . . . resolved to employ all his credit in order to prevent the marriage— Hume

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as it [the ballet] declined as an art, so also it declined in credit and in popularity; it became scarcely respectable even to admire dancing— Ellis

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Analogous words: driving or drive, impelling or impulsion, actuation (see corresponding verbs at MOVE): *power, control, dominion, sway, authority: ascendancy, *supremacy: dominance (see corresponding adjective at DOMINANT)
influence vb *affect, sway, impress, touch, strike
Analogous words: *move, actuate, drive, impel: stimulate, *provoke, excite: *stir, arouse, rouse: incline, dispose, predispose, bias

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • INFLUENCE — Dans le langage scientifique, une sorte de coexistence s’instaure fréquemment entre deux niveaux de conceptualisation, l’un assez proche de la langue courante, où le terme est employé dans un sens générique très large et désigne plutôt une notion …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • influence — in·flu·ence n 1 a: the act or power of producing an effect without any apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b: corrupt interference with authority for personal gain 2: the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or… …   Law dictionary

  • Influence — In flu*ence ([i^]n fl[ u]*ens), n. [F. influence, fr. L. influens, entis, p. pr. See {Influent}, and cf. {Influenza}.] 1. A flowing in or upon; influx. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] God hath his influence into the very essence of all things. Hooker.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Influence — may refer to: *, an episode of the American drama TV series *A type of electrostatic generator *Social influence, in interpersonal relationships *Minority influence, when the minority affect the behavior or beliefs of the majority *Undue… …   Wikipedia

  • influence — [in′flo͞o əns, in flo͞o′əns] n. [OFr < ML influentia, a flowing in < L influens, prp. of influere, to flow in < in, in + fluere, to flow: see FLUCTUATE] 1. Astrol. the flowing of an ethereal fluid or power from the stars, thought to… …   English World dictionary

  • influence — ► NOUN 1) the power or ability to affect someone s beliefs or actions. 2) a person or thing with such ability or power. 3) the power arising out of status, contacts, or wealth. 4) the power to produce a physical change. ► VERB ▪ have an influence …   English terms dictionary

  • Influence — In flu*ence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Influenced} ([i^]n fl[ u]*enst); p. pr. & vb. n. {Influencing} ([i^]n fl[ u]*en*s[i^]ng).] To control or move by power, physical or moral; to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • influence — Influence. s. f. Qualité, puissance, vertu qui decoule des astres sur les corps sublunaires. Bonne influence. maligne influence. les diverses influences des astres font la varieté du temps …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • influencé — influencé, ée (in flu an sé, sée) part. passé d influencer. Influencé par sa femme …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • influence — [n] power, authority access, agency, ascendancy, character, clout, command, connections, consequence, control, credit, direction, domination, dominion, drag, effect, esteem, fame, fix, force, grease*, guidance, hold, impact, importance, imprint,… …   New thesaurus