early 13c., autorite "book or quotation that settles an argument," from Old French auctorité "authority, prestige, right, permission, dignity, gravity; the Scriptures" (12c.; Modern French autorité), from Latin auctoritatem (nominative auctoritas) "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command," from auctor "master, leader, author" (see author (n.)).
Usually spelled with a -c- in English till 16c., when it was dropped in imitation of the French. Meaning "power to enforce obedience" is from late 14c.; meaning "people in authority" is from 1610s. Authorities "those in charge, those with police powers" is recorded from mid-19c.
1. Fifteen-year-old Danny is on the run from a local authority home.
2. The authority must make suitable accommodation available to the family.
3. The Advertising Standards Authority accused estate agents of using blatant untruths.
4. He's got the experience and the authority to carry it off.
5. He's universally recognized as an authority on Russian affairs.