The following are interesting excerpts from Webster’s 1828 dictionary for the word “power.”
1. In a philosophical sense, the faculty of doing or performing any thing; the faculty of moving or of producing a change in something;…Power in man is active or speculative. Active power is that which moves the body; speculative power is that by which we see, judge, remember, or in general, by which we think.
Power may exist without exertion. We have power to speak when we are silent.
Active power: the power of doing or moving
Passive power: receiving impressions or of suffering.
In strictness, passive power is an absurdity in terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted, is improper language, yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense, and is considered as two-fold; viz.as able to make or able to receive any change.
10. Influence; that which may move the mind; as the power of arguments or of persuasion.
16. Legal authority; warrant; as a power of attorney; an agent invested with ample power.
Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.