If you have the authority to do something, you have the right or power to do it. You are the big cheese. Or, if you know more about a topic than most, you are an authority on that topic.

Giving someone authority grants them the power to make important decisions or have accepted opinions. When you leave your kids with a babysitter, you give her the authority to put them to bed at 7 p.m., no matter how much they insist you let them stay up until midnight. You'll feel more confident leaving the babysitter in charge of bedtime decisions if she's written two books on the subject and is an authority, or renowned expert, on children's sleep habits. Being an authority on children's sleep habits helps your babysitter enforce that 7 p.m. bedtime, but it may not convince the kids.

Definitions of authority

n the power or right to give orders or make decisions

“he has the authority to issue warrants”
authorisation, authorization, dominance, potency, say-so
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power of appointment
authority given (in a will or deed) by a donor to a donee to appoint the beneficiaries of the donor's property
carte blanche
complete freedom or authority to act
the power or authority to command
supreme authority; absolute dominion
the authority of a lord
authority or power or force (especially when used in a coercive way)
the authority of a state to govern another state
Type of:
power to direct or determine

n (usually plural) persons who exercise (administrative) control over others

“the authorities have issued a curfew”
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an authority or official empowered to abolish or annul or repeal
allocator, distributor
a person with authority to allot or deal out or apportion
an authority with power to approve
authority figure
someone who is regarded as an authority by someone else
authoriser, authorizer
an authority who authorizes (people or actions)
an authority who issues a mandate
pacha, pasha
a civil or military authority in Turkey or Egypt
civil authority, civil officer
a person who exercises authority over civilian affairs
rebuker, reproacher, reprover, upbraider
someone who finds fault or imputes blame
an authority who withdraws permission
city manager, mayor
the head of a city government
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

n an administrative unit of government

“Tennessee Valley Authority
agency, bureau, federal agency, government agency, office
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Air Force Research Laboratory
a United States Air Force defense laboratory responsible for discovering and developing and integrating fighting technologies for aerospace forces
Army High Performance Computing Research Center
a United States defense laboratory to conduct research in high-performance computing for defense technology applications; a partnership of government and university and industry
Naval Research Laboratory
the United States Navy's defense laboratory that conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines
United States Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory
a defense laboratory of the Criminal Investigation Command; the United States Army's primary forensic laboratory in support of criminal intelligence
Manhattan Project
a former United States executive agency that was responsible for developing atomic bombs during World War II
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executive agency
an agency of the executive branch of government
FDA, Food and Drug Administration
a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products
CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services; located in Atlanta; investigates and diagnoses and tries to control or prevent diseases (especially new and unusual diseases)
CTC, Counterterrorist Center
an agency that helps the Director of Central Intelligence coordinate counterterrorist efforts in order to preempt and disrupt and defeat terrorist activities at the earliest possible stage
NPC, Nonproliferation Center
an agency that serves as the focal point for all Intelligence Community activities related to nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems
Bureau of the Census, Census Bureau
the bureau of the Commerce Department responsible for taking the census; provides demographic information and analyses about the population of the United States
NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment; provides weather reports and forecasts floods and hurricanes and other natural disasters related to weather
NCDC, National Climatic Data Center
the part of NOAA that maintains the world's largest active archive of weather data
National Weather Service
the federal agency in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is responsible for weather forecast and preparation of weather maps
Technology Administration
an agency in the Department of Commerce that works with United States industries to promote competitiveness and maximize the impact of technology on economic growth
NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology
an agency in the Technology Administration that makes measurements and sets standards as needed by industry or government programs
NTIS, National Technical Information Service
an agency in the Technology Administration that is a primary resource for government-funded scientific and technical and engineering and business related information
DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
the central research and development organization for the United States Department of Defense; responsible for developing new surveillance technologies since 9/11
Department of Defense Laboratory System, LABLINK
a defense laboratory that provides essential services in fundamental science for national security and environmental protection and provides technologies that contribute to industrial competitiveness
DOEI, Department of Energy Intelligence
an agency that collects political and economic and technical information about energy matters and makes the Department of Energy's technical and analytical expertise available to other members of the Intelligence Community
PHS, United States Public Health Service
an agency that serves as the office of Surgeon General; includes agencies whose mission is to improve the public health
NIH, National Institutes of Health
an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is to employ science in the pursuit of knowledge to improve human health; is the principal biomedical research agency of the federal government
BJA, Bureau of Justice Assistance
the bureau in the Department of Justice that assists local criminal justice systems to reduce or prevent crime and violence and drug abuse
BJS, Bureau of Justice Statistics
the agency in the Department of Justice that is the primary source of criminal justice statistics for federal and local policy makers
INS, Immigration and Naturalization Service
an agency in the Department of Justice that enforces laws and regulations for the admission of foreign-born persons to the United States
US Border Patrol, United States Border Patrol
the mobile law enforcement arm of the Immigration and Naturalization Service that detects and prevents illegal entry of aliens into the United States
Bureau of Diplomatic Security, DS
the bureau in the State Department that is responsible for the security of diplomats and embassies overseas
Foreign Service
the part of the State Department that supplies diplomats for the United States embassies and consulates around the world
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, INR
an agency that is the primary source in the State Department for interpretive analyses of global developments and focal point for policy issues and activities of the Intelligence Community
FWS, US Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
an agency in the Department of the Interior that conserves and protects fish and wildlife and their habitats; assesses the environmental impact of pesticides and nuclear power site and hydroelectric dams and thermal pollution
National Park Service
an agency of the Interior Department responsible for the national parks
Financial Management Service
the federal agency in the Treasury Department that manages the government's disbursement and collection systems and provides central accounting and financial reporting
OIS, Office of Intelligence Support
agency that oversees the intelligence relationships of the Treasury's offices and bureaus and provides a link between the Intelligence Community and officials responsible for international economic policy
Comptroller of the Currency
the agency of the Treasury Department responsible for controlling the currency
Bureau of Customs, Customs Bureau, Customs Service, USCB
the agency of the Treasury Department that enforces import tariffs
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
the agency of the Treasury Department that produces currency
IRS, Internal Revenue Service
the bureau of the Treasury Department responsible for tax collections
FAA, Federal Aviation Agency
an agency in the Department of Transportation that is responsible for the safety of civilian aviation
TSA, Transportation Security Administration
an agency established in 2001 to safeguard United States transportation systems and insure safe air travel
GAO, Government Accounting Office, United States Government Accounting Office
an independent nonpartisan federal agency that acts as the investigative arm of Congress making the executive branch accountable to Congress and the government accountable to citizens of the United States
Navy, US Navy, USN, United States Navy
the navy of the United States of America; the agency that maintains and trains and equips combat-ready naval forces
U. S. Coast Guard, US Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard
an agency of the Department of Transportation responsible for patrolling shores and facilitating nautical commerce
NAWCWPNS, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
the principal agency of the United States Navy for research and development for air warfare and missile weapon systems
NSW, Naval Special Warfare
the agency that provides units to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare
NSWC, Naval Surface Warfare Center
the agency that provides scientific and engineering and technical support for all aspects of surface warfare
NUWC, Naval Underwater Warfare Center
the agency that provides scientific and engineering and technical support for submarine and undersea warfare systems
ONI, Office of Naval Intelligence
the military intelligence agency that provides for the intelligence and counterintelligence and investigative and security requirements of the United States Navy
MCIA, Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
an agency of the United States Marine Corps that provides responsive and broad intelligence support for the worldwide Marine Corps organization
Air Force, U. S. Air Force, US Air Force, USAF, United States Air Force
the airforce of the United States of America; the agency that defends the United States through control and exploitation of air and space
AFISR, Air Force ISR, Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance
an agency focused on ensuring that the United States military attains information superiority; operates worldwide ground sites and an array of airborne reconnaissance and surveillance platforms
independent agency
an agency of the United States government that is created by an act of Congress and is independent of the executive departments
ARDA, Advanced Research and Development Activity
an agency of the Intelligence Community that conducts advanced research and development related to information technology
Defense Logistics Agency
a logistics combat support agency in the Department of Defense; provides worldwide support for military missions
DRMS, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service
the organization in the Defense Logistics Agency that inventories and evaluates and sells reusable United States government surplus
DTIC, Defense Technical Information Center
the agency in the Department of Defense that provides scientific and technical information to federal agencies and their contractors
law enforcement agency
an agency responsible for insuring obedience to the laws
OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
a government agency in the Department of Labor to maintain a safe and healthy work environment
a government agency or instrument devoted to the performance of some specific function
Patent Office, Patent and Trademark Office Database
the government bureau in the Department of Commerce that keeps a record of patents and trademarks and grants new ones
GPO, Government Printing Office, US Government Printing Office, United States Government Printing Office
an agency of the legislative branch that provides printing and binding services for Congress and the departments and establishments of the federal government
NGB, National Guard Bureau
the agency that administers the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard; provides liaison between the Army and the Air Force and various National Guard units
Army, U. S. Army, US Army, USA, United States Army
the army of the United States of America; the agency that organizes and trains soldiers for land warfare
AI, Army Intelligence
an agency of the United States Army responsible for providing timely and relevant and accurate and synchronized intelligence to tactical and operational and strategic level commanders
BMDO, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
an agency in the Department of Defense that is responsible for making ballistic missile defense a reality
DISA, Defense Information Systems Agency
a combat support agency in the Department of Defense responsible for developing and operating and supporting information systems to serve the needs of the President and the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
a combat support agency that provides geographic intelligence in support of national security
CCRC, Casualty Care Research Center
an agency in the Department of Defense that is a national center for research on all aspects of injury control and casualty care
FHA, Federal Housing Administration
the federal agency in the Department of Housing and Urban Development that insures residential mortgages
local authority
an administrative unit of local government
AEC, Atomic Energy Commission
a former executive agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States
NRC, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
an independent federal agency created in 1974 to license and regulate nuclear power plants
EPA, Environmental Protection Agency
an independent federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment
FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency
an independent agency of the United States government that provides a single point of accountability for all federal emergency preparedness and mitigation and response activities
Council of Economic Advisors
an executive agency responsible for providing economic advice to the President
CIA, Central Intelligence Agency
an independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest; headed by the Director of Central Intelligence under the supervision of the President and National Security Council
ICC, Interstate Commerce Commission
a former independent federal agency that supervised and set rates for carriers that transported goods and people between states; was terminated in 1995
NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
an independent agency of the United States government responsible for aviation and spaceflight
NARA, National Archives and Records Administration
the independent agency that oversees management of federal government records including presidential libraries and historic collections
NLRB, National Labor Relations Board
an independent agency of the United States government charged with mediating disputes between management and labor unions
NSF, National Science Foundation
an independent agency of the federal government responsible for the promotion of progress in science and engineering by supporting programs in research and education
Postal Rate Commission
an independent federal agency that recommends changes in postal rates
US Postal Service, USPS, United States Postal Service
an independent federal agency that provides mail processing and delivery service for individuals and businesses in the United States
US Postal Inspection Service, United States Postal Inspection Service
the primary law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service
NSC, National Security Council
a committee in the executive branch of government that advises the president on foreign and military and national security; supervises the Central Intelligence Agency
Council on Environmental Policy
the executive agency that advises the President on protecting the environment
Joint Chiefs, Joint Chiefs of Staff
the executive agency that advises the President on military questions; composed of the chiefs of the United States Army and the United States Navy and the United States Air Force and the commandant of the United States Marine Corps
OMB, Office of Management and Budget
the executive agency that advises the President on the federal budget
US Trade Representative, United States Trade Representative
the executive agency that administers the President's policies on international trade
FCC, Federal Communications Commission
an independent government agency that regulates interstate and international communications by radio and television and wire and cable and satellite
SSA, Social Security Administration
an independent government agency responsible for the Social Security system
FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation
a federal law enforcement agency that is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Justice
FLETC, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
a center in the Department of that trains law enforcement professionals for more than seventy federal agencies
FinCEN, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
a law enforcement agency of the Treasury Department responsible for establishing and implementing policies to detect money laundering
ATF, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
the law enforcement and tax collection agency of the Treasury Department that enforces federal laws concerning alcohol and tobacco products and firearms and explosives and arson
CID, Criminal Investigation Command
the United States Army's principal law enforcement agency responsible for the conduct of criminal investigations for all levels of the Army anywhere in the world
DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency
federal agency responsible for enforcing laws and regulations governing narcotics and controlled substances; goal is to immobilize drug trafficking organizations
BoP, Federal Bureau of Prisons
the law enforcement agency of the Justice Department that operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate inmates sentenced to imprisonment for federal crimes
Federal Judiciary
the judiciary of the United States which is responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws
NIJ, National Institute of Justice
the law enforcement agency that is the research and development branch of the Department of Justice
Marshals, US Marshals Service, United States Marshals Service
the United States' oldest federal law enforcement agency is responsible today for protecting the Federal Judiciary and transporting federal prisoners and protecting federal witnesses and managing assets seized from criminals and generally ensuring the effective operation of the federal judicial system
PO, Post Office, US Post Office, United States Post Office
an independent agency of the federal government responsible for mail delivery (and sometimes telecommunications) between individuals and businesses in the United States
constabulary, law, police, police force
the force of policemen and officers
FTC, Federal Trade Commission
an independent agency of the United States federal government that maintains fair and free competition; enforces federal antitrust laws; educates the public about identity theft
OIG, Office of Inspector General
the investigative arm of the Federal Trade Commission
GSA, General Services Administration
a central management agency that sets Federal policy for Federal procurement and real property management and information resources management
FPS, Federal Protective Service
an agency in the General Services Administration that is a security organization to provide a safe environment where Federal agencies can conduct their business
SBA, Small Business Administration
an independent agency of the United States government that protects the interests of small businesses and ensures that they receive a fair share of government contracts
SSS, Selective Service, Selective Service System
an independent federal agency that administers compulsory military service
SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission
an independent federal agency that oversees the exchange of securities to protect investors
Type of:
administrative body, administrative unit
a unit with administrative responsibilities

n an expert whose views are taken as definitive

“he is an authority on corporate law”
(Greek mythology) a wise old counselor to the Greeks at Troy
Grigori Efimovich Rasputin
Siberian peasant monk who was religious advisor in the court of Nicholas II; was assassinated by Russian noblemen who feared that his debauchery would weaken the monarchy (1872-1916)
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adviser, advisor, consultant
an expert who gives advice
cognoscente, connoisseur
an expert able to appreciate a field; especially in the fine arts
evaluator, judge
an authority who is able to estimate worth or quality
high priest
a preeminent authority or major proponent of a movement or doctrine
an authority on liturgies
master, professional
an authority qualified to teach apprentices
amicus curiae, friend of the court
an adviser to the court on some matter of law who is not a party to the case; usually someone who wants to influence the outcome of a lawsuit involving matters of wide public interest
appraiser, valuator
one who estimates officially the worth or value or quality of things
arbiter, arbitrator, umpire
someone chosen to judge and decide a disputed issue
backroom boy, brain truster
an expert adviser involved in making important decisions but usually lacking official status
beauty consultant
someone who gives you advice about your personal appearance
counsellor, counselor
someone who gives advice about problems
agricultural agent, county agent, extension agent
an advisor employed by the government to assist people in rural areas with methods of farming and home economics
anyone who expresses a reasoned judgment of something
aesthete, esthete
one who professes great sensitivity to the beauty of art and nature
fashion consultant, fashionmonger
someone who advises you about fashionable clothing
investment adviser, investment advisor
someone who advises others how to invest their money
management consultant
adviser to business about efficient management practices
media consultant, media guru
someone who advises about the use of communication media
military adviser, military advisor
a military officer who serves as an adviser to the troops of an allied nation
wine lover
a connoisseur of fine wines; a grape nut
past master
someone who was formerly a master
security consultant
an adviser about alarm systems to prevent burglaries
a religious adviser (not necessarily a priest) in the Eastern Orthodox Church
tipster, tout
one who sells advice about gambling or speculation (especially at the racetrack)
Type of:
a person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully

n an authoritative written work

“this book is the final authority on the life of Milton”
last word
an authoritative statement
Type of:
a written work or composition that has been published (printed on pages bound together)

n freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities

“she spoke with authority
assurance, confidence, self-assurance, self-confidence, sureness
Type of:
the state of being certain

n official permission or approval

authority for the program was renewed several times”
authorisation, authorization, sanction
Type of:
approval to do something

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