Influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something. If someone influences someone else, they are changing a person or thing in an indirect but important way.

Sometimes a person who influences another doesn't intend to have any effect, but sometimes they are using influence to benefit themselves. An example of a personal benefit or advantage would be the use of political influence. Influence is also a verb, from Latin influere to flow in.

Definitions of influence

n a power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc

“used her parents' influence to get the job”
show 9 types...
hide 9 types...
dead hand, dead hand of the past, mortmain
the oppressive influence of past events or decisions
a powerful effect or influence
grasp, grip
an intellectual hold or understanding
something that acts like a tentacle in its ability to grasp and hold
a force that compels
compulsory force or threat
an animating or vital unifying force
an essential or life-giving force
forces that provide energy and direction
Type of:
power, powerfulness
possession of controlling influence

n causing something without any direct or apparent effort

show 13 types...
hide 13 types...
stimulating influence among diverse elements
the act of subjecting someone to an influencing experience
encroachment, impact, impingement
influencing strongly
manipulation, use
exerting shrewd or devious influence especially for one's own advantage
hypnotism, mesmerism, suggestion
the act of inducing hypnosis
enticement, temptation
the act of influencing by exciting hope or desire
the act of exposing someone excessively to an influencing experience
inadequate publicity
mind game
deliberate actions of calculated psychological manipulation intended to intimidate or confuse (usually for competitive advantage)
blandishment, wheedling
the act of urging by means of teasing or flattery
leading astray, leading off
the act of enticing others into sinful ways
enticing someone astray from right behavior
allurement, solicitation
the act of enticing a person to do something wrong (as an offer of sex in return for money)
Type of:
causation, causing
the act of causing something to happen

n one having power to influence another

“she was the most important influence in my life”
“he was a bad influence on the children”
Type of:
force, power
one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority

n a cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do

“her wishes had a great influence on his thinking”
show 12 types...
hide 12 types...
a factor whose effects cannot be accurately assessed
a distinctive influence
morale builder
something or someone who influences by building or strengthening morale
canker, pestilence
a pernicious and malign influence that is hard to get rid of
something providing immaterial assistance to a person or cause or interest
enticement, temptation
something that seduces or has the quality to seduce
anchor, backbone, keystone, linchpin, lynchpin, mainstay
a central cohesive source of support and stability
support that enables people to survive or to continue doing something (often by providing an essential connection)
forbidden fruit
originally an apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden; it is now used to refer to anything that is tempting but dangerous (as sexuality)
bait, come-on, hook, lure, sweetener
anything that serves as an enticement
leaven, leavening
an influence that works subtly to lighten or modify something
Type of:
causal factor, determinant, determinative, determiner, determining factor
a determining or causal element or factor

n the effect of one thing (or person) on another

“the influence of mechanical action”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
(physics) a secondary influence on a system that causes it to deviate slightly
a means of exerting influence or gaining advantage
a tendency or force that influences events
(astronomy) any perturbation of the mean motion or orbit of a planet or satellite (especially a perturbation of the earth's moon)
Type of:
consequence, effect, event, issue, outcome, result, upshot
a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon

v have and exert influence or effect

“The artist's work influenced the young painter”
act upon, work
show 15 types...
hide 15 types...
prejudice, prepossess
influence (somebody's) opinion in advance
form, imprint
establish or impress firmly in the mind
have force or influence; bring about an effect or change
manipulate, pull strings, pull wires
influence or control shrewdly or deviously
color, colour
modify or bias
swing, swing over
influence decisively
blackjack, blackmail, pressure
exert pressure on someone through threats
carry, persuade, sway
win approval or support for
get at
influence by corruption
influence an event or its outcome by illegal means
be in control
bias, predetermine
cause to be biased
influence in an unfair way
enter into and control, as of emotions or ideas
Type of:
affect, bear on, bear upon, impact, touch, touch on
have an effect upon

v shape or influence; give direction to

determine, mold, regulate, shape
show 13 types...
hide 13 types...
dispose, incline
make receptive or willing towards an action or attitude or belief
disincline, indispose
make unwilling
shape or form or make badly
carry weight
have influence to a specified degree
influence or determine
shape anew or differently
set the speed, duration, or execution of
adjust through indexation
regulate or set the pace of
determine beforehand
make susceptible
foreordain, predestine, preordain
foreordain or determine beforehand
foreordain, predestinate, predestine
foreordain by divine will or decree
Type of:
cause, do, make
give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally

v induce into action by using one's charm

charm, tempt
bewitch, magnetise, magnetize, mesmerise, mesmerize, spellbind
attract strongly, as if with a magnet
Type of:
cause somebody to adopt a certain position, belief, or course of action; twist somebody's arm

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.