1. A substance consisting of ground, pulverized, or otherwise finely dispersed solid particles.
2. Any of various preparations in the form of powder, as certain cosmetics and medicines.
3. A dry explosive mixture, such as gunpowder.
4. Light dry snow.
tr.v. pow·dered, pow·der·ing, pow·dersIdioms:
1. To turn into or produce as a powder: tea that is powdered.
2. To put powder on: powdered the cake with sugar.
3. To strew or ornament with small objects or flecks: The stars powdered the sky.
keep (one's) powder dry
To be ready for a challenge with little warning.
take a powder
To make a quick departure; run away.
[Middle English poudre, from Old French, from Latin pulvis, pulver-.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.