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| |EMPOWER v. Paulo Celestino Guimaraes
, empower Paulo Celestino Guimaraes
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. See synonyms at authorize.
2. To equip or supply with an ability; enable: “Computers … empower students to become intellectual explorers” (Edward B. Fiske).he verb empower has become a buzzword in recent years, and its meaning seems to get vaguer with each use. Today teachers are empowering students to think for themselves. Computers empower us to become explorers on the information frontier. Women are empowering each other as professionals by using the services of other women. Politicians are empowering us to, well, have less to do with them. 2
The word empower is not new, having arisen in the mid-17th century with the legalistic meaning “to invest with authority, authorize.” Shortly thereafter it began to be used with an infinitive in a more general way meaning “to enable or permit.” Both of these uses survive today but are being overpowered by the word’s use in politics and pop psychology. Paulo Celestino Guimaraes
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