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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Influence


IN'FLUENCE, noun [Latin influens, influo, to flow in; in and fluo, to flow.] Literally, a flowing in, into or on, and referring to substances spiritual or too subtil to be visible, like inspiration. Hence the word was formerly followed by into.

God hath his influence into the very essence of all things.

It is not followed by on or with.

1. In a general sense, influence denotes power whose operation is invisible and known only by its effects, or a power whose cause and operation are unseen.

2. The power which celestial bodies are supposed to exert on terrestrial; as the influence of the planets on the birth and fortunes of men; an exploded doctrine of astrology.

3. Moral power; power of truth operating on the mind, rational faculties or will, in persuading or dissuading, as the influence of motives, of arguments, or of prayer. We say, arguments had no influence on the jury. The magistrate is not popular; he has no influence with the people; or he has great influence with the prince.

4. Physical power; power that affects natural bodies by unseen operation; as, the rays of the sun have an influence in whitening cloth, and in giving a green color to vegetables.

5. Power acting on sensibility; as the influence of love or pity in sympathy.

6. Spiritual power, or the immediate power of God on the mind; as divine influence; the influences of the Holy Spirit.

IN'FLUENCE, verb transitive To move by physical power operating by unseen laws or force; to affect.

These experiments succeed after the same manner in vacuo, as in the open air, and therefore are not influenced by the weight or pressure of the atmosphere.

1. To move by moral power; to act on and affect, as the mind or will, in persuading or dissuading; to induce. Men are influenced by motives of interest or pleasure. An orator may influence the people to take arms, or to abandon an enterprise.

2. To move, as the passions, as, to influence one by pity.

3. To lead or direct. This revelation is sufficient to influence our faith and practice.