Alternative formsEdit


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, mill dust, E. pollen. Compare 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 dry substance by pounding, grinding, or triturating, or the result of decay; dust.
    • 3 February 2017, 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.
    • c. 1588–1593, William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
      Grind their bones to powder small.
  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 termsEdit


  • Tok Pisin: paura
    • Rotokas: paora
  • Hindi: पाउडार (pāuḍār)
  • Maori: paura
  • Urdu: پاؤڈر(pāuḍār)



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 alsoEdit


Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Old French poudre.



  1. Alternative form of poudre

Etymology 2Edit

From Old French poudrer.



  1. Alternative form of poudren