Definition of the powers that be in US English:

the powers that be

phrase

  • The authorities.

    • ‘People try and be free, and the powers that be basically overtake the movement.’
    • ‘The powers that be, though, are the ones to attempt to right these wrongs but nothing is being done.’
    • ‘The powers that be will probably have their own side of the story to relate.’
    • ‘But each day I thank the powers that be that I live in a country where assistance is available.’
    • ‘If the powers that be truly wanted the discrimination to end they could do it in one fell swoop.’
    • ‘It would never have occurred to the powers that be to run and supervise the National Lottery from anywhere but London.’
    • ‘Indeed, it is going to be a struggle bargaining with the powers that be to achieve our aspirations.’
    • ‘That is to say, the implications of their vote will be written off by the powers that be.’
    • ‘I thought we were being directed away from the original subject matter by the powers that be.’
    • ‘He then accused the powers that be of failing to appreciate younger people's culture.’
    the authorities, the people in charge, the establishment, the government, the administration, the men in suits, the men in grey suits
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