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Source : Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Authority \Au*thor"i*ty\, n.; pl. {Authorities}. [OE. autorite,
   auctorite, F. autorit['e], fr. L. auctoritas, fr. auctor. See
   {Author}, n.]
   1. Legal or rightful power; a right to command or to act;
      power exercised buy a person in virtue of his office or
      trust; dominion; jurisdiction; authorization; as, the
      authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over
      children; the authority of a court.

            Thus can the demigod, Authority, Make us pay down
            for our offense.                      --Shak.

            By what authority doest thou these things ? --Matt.
                                                  xxi. 23.

   2. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or
      command; as, the local authorities of the States; the
      military authorities. [Chiefly in the plural.]

   3. The power derived from opinion, respect, or esteem;
      influence of character, office, or station, or mental or
      moral superiority, and the like; claim to be believed or
      obeyed; as, an historian of no authority; a magistrate of
      great authority.

   4. That which, or one who, is claimed or appealed to in
      support of opinions, actions, measures, etc. Hence:
      (a) Testimony; witness. ``And on that high authority had
          believed.'' --Milton.
      (b) A precedent; a decision of a court, an official
          declaration, or an opinion, saying, or statement
          worthy to be taken as a precedent.
      (c) A book containing such a statement or opinion, or the
          author of the book.
      (d) Justification; warrant.

                Wilt thou be glass wherein it shall discern
                Authority for sin, warrant for blame. --Shak.

Source : WordNet®

     n : the organization that is the governing authority of a
         political unit; "the government reduced taxes"; "the
         matter was referred to higher authorities" [syn: {government},
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