Definition for AU-THOR'I-TY

AU-THOR'I-TY, n. [L. auctoritas.]

  1. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as, the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.
  2. The power derived from opinion, respect or esteem; influence of character or office; credit; as, the authority of age or example, which is submitted to or respected, in some measure, as a law, or rule of action. That which is claimed in justification or support of opinions and measures.
  3. Testimony; witness; or the person who testifies; as, the Gospels or the evangelists are our authorities for the miracles of Christ.
  4. Weight of testimony; credibility; as, an historian of no authority.
  5. Weight of character; respectability, dignity; as, a magistrate of great authority in the city.
  6. Warrant; order; permission. By what authority doest thou these things? – Matth. xxi. Acts ix.
  7. Precedents, decisions of a court, official declarations, respectable opinions and sayings, also the books that contain them, are called authorities, as they influence the opinions of others; and in law, the decisions of supreme courts have a binding force upon inferior courts, and are called authorities.
  8. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as, the local authorities of the states. – Marshall. 1 Pet. iii. In Connecticut, the justices of the peace are denominated the civil authority.

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