the powers that be


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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 in congress. 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

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

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

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

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

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
Full browser ?