powers that be, the

the powers that be

The people or forces who are in a position of authority or control. Everyone thought the bill would be passed immediately, but the powers that be have decided to kill it before it gained any traction. We do have the power to effect change by voting, but, between elections, we're largely at the mercy of the powers that be.
See also: power, that
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

powers that be

the people who are in authority. The powers that be have decided to send back the immigrants. I have applied for a license, and the powers that be are considering my application.
See also: power, that
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

powers that be, the

Those in control, the authorities, as in Our plan was vetoed by the powers that be. This expression appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 translation of the Bible (Romans 13:1): "The powers that be are ordained of God."
See also: power, that
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

the powers that be

COMMON People sometimes call people in authority the powers that be, especially when they want to say that they disagree with them or do not understand what they say or do. The powers that be, in this case the independent Television Association, banned the advertisement altogether. The powers that be may keep us from building a house just where we want to.
See also: power, that
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the powers that be

the authorities.
This phrase comes from Romans 13:1: ‘the powers that be are ordained of God’.
See also: power, that
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

the ˌpowers that ˈbe

(often ironic) the people who control a country, an organization, etc: It’s the powers that be who decide things. We just have to live with their decisions.
See also: power, that
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

powers that be

Those who hold effective power in a system or situation: a plan vetoed by the powers that be.
See also: power, that
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

powers that be, the

Those in authority. This term comes from the Bible: “The powers that be are ordained of God,” from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (13:1), asserts that all power of any kind comes from God alone. Centuries later the term was reasserted by Pope Leo XIII (Immortale Dei, 1885): “All public power proceeds from God.” Today the term is used more loosely for any temporal authorities.
See also: power, that
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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