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Definition: Powerful or influential.

Pronunciation: Pwee-sant


Puissant originated in the middle of the 15th century. It derives from the French word poissant of the same meaning, which further derives from the French word pooir meaning “to be able”. Pooir is derived from the Latin word posse, also meaning “to be able”.

Why this word?

Frankly the sound of this word, the way it rolls off the tongue, are more appealing to me than the meaning of the word itself. I have always felt that some words lend themselves more towards speaking than others and puissant (or in its form as a noun, puissance) is one of those. It also seems to convey more than just raw power to me, but has connotations of an elite nature and a power that is not physical but perhaps intellectual or charismatic. It’s a word that is both descriptive and musical.

How to use the word puissant in a sentence?

“His naturally puissant nature made it very easy for him to transfer into politics.”

“The cat managed to generate a sense of an innate puissance which cautioned the dog against ever attacking her.”

“The puissance of the character and the force of its personality were in stark contrast to the nature of the actor, and easygoing and easily overlooked man.”


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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.


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