Definition of the powers that be in US English:

the powers that be

phrase

  • The authorities.

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