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See also: Powder


Cocoa powder.

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English poudre, pouder, pouldre, borrowed from Old French poudre, poldre, puldre, from Latin pulverem, accusative singular of Latin pulvis (dust, powder). Compare pollen (fine flour), polverine, pulverize.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpaʊ.də(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊdə(ɹ)


powder (countable and uncountable, plural powders)

  1. The fine particles which are the result of reducing a dry substance by pounding, grinding, or triturating, or the result of decay; dust.
    • c. 1588–1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii], page 50, column 2:
      Let me goe grin'd their Bones to powder ſmall, []
    • 2017 February 3, Deborah Orr, “Veg crisis, what veg crisis? If we can’t have courgettes, then let us eat kale”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Let them stop fretting about vegetables denied by the weather and eat chilli powder. Just explain to them that they really shouldn’t think about spiralising it, because that doesn’t work.
  2. (cosmetics) A mixture of fine dry, sweet-smelling particles applied to the face or other body parts, to reduce shine or to alleviate chaffing.
    • 1912, Willa Cather, The Bohemian Girl:
      She was redolent of violet sachet powder, and had warm, soft, white hands, but she danced divinely, moving as smoothly as the tide coming in.
  3. An explosive mixture used in gunnery, blasting, etc.; gunpowder.
  4. (informal) Ellipsis of powder snow.; light, dry, fluffy snow.
  5. Ellipsis of powder blue.; the colour powder blue.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from powder (noun)




powder (third-person singular simple present powders, present participle powdering, simple past and past participle powdered)

  1. (transitive) To reduce to fine particles; to pound, grind, or rub into a powder.
  2. (transitive) To sprinkle with powder, or as if with powder.
    to powder one's hair
  3. (intransitive) To use powder on the hair or skin.
    • 1778-1787, Frances Burney, The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay
      If she is grave, and reads steadily on, she dismisses me, whether I am dressed or not; but at all times she never forgets to send me away while she is powdering, with a consideration not to spoil my clothes
  4. (intransitive) To turn into powder; to become powdery.
    • 1934, Edward Knight, The Clinical Journal, volume 63:
      Ample evidence is brought forward to show that the higher incidence of chronic interstitial nephritis in Queensland is due to lead paint on the verandahs and railings of the houses, which powders easily during the long Australian summer.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To sprinkle with salt; to corn, as meat.
  6. (intransitive, slang) To depart suddenly; to "take a powder".
    • 1980, Stephen King, The Wedding Gig:
      Miss Gibson appeared in the empty hall, her eyes wide and shocked. The little man who had started all the trouble with his singing telegram had powdered.



See also[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French poudre.



  1. Alternative form of poudre

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French poudrer.



  1. Alternative form of poudren