The powers that be


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Powers that be – The'?

The established government or authority.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Powers that be – The'?

This phrase derives from the Bible, Romans 13 – first appearing in print in English in Tyndale’s Bible, 1526:

13:1 1 Let every soule submit him selfe vnto the auctorite of ye hyer powers. For there is no power but of God.
13:2 The powers that be are ordeyned of God. Whosoever therfore resysteth power resisteth the ordinaunce of God. And they that resist shall receave to the selfe damnacio.

Trend of the powers that be in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.