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AUTHOR'ITY, n. [L. auctoritas.]
1. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.
2. The power derived from opinion, respect or esteem; influence of character or office; credit; as the authority of age or example, which is submitted to or respected, in some measure, as a law, or rule of action. That which is claimed in justification or support of opinions and measures.
3. Testimony; witness; or the person who testifies; as, the Gospels or the evangelists are our authorities for the miracles of Christ.
4. Weight of testimony; credibility; as a historian of no authority.
5. Weight of character; respectability; dignity; as a magistrate of great authority in the city.
6. Warrant; order; permission.
By what authority dost thou these things. Mat. 21. Acts 9.
7. Precedents, decisions of a court, official declarations, respectable opinions and says, also the books that contain them, are call authorities, as they influence the opinions of others; and in law, the decisions of supreme courts have a binding force upon inferior courts, and are called authorities.
8. Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as the local authorities of the states.
In Connecticut, the justices of the peace are denominated the civil authority.