Friday, August 3, 2007


empower: potenciar, apoderar, empoderar

The dictionary says to empower is to give someone else power (I empower you to do it). In that sense I would use apoderar. I am all about neologisms, and yes, empoderar is catching on - but I don't get how it's better than than the long existing apoderar. Unless maybe it squeamishness about those other definitions of apoderar carrying over. See this definition.

Or maybe it's that people feel uncomfortable with it when empower is actually being used more like to own your own power (the dictionary would say having the confidence to do something), which is the sense in which you're more likely to see it in a social justice context (as in We can fight our landlord, we know our rights, we are empowered tenants). Ok, so in that context I could live with empoderados, but I like potenciados alot too.

I've heard potenciar from several different social justice 'terps now, so I'm not just making this one up. It's not an exaaaact match though. See this definition.

Thoughts? Votes?

(Oh, and if you don't have the word ref searches in your firefox toolbar scrolldown to the bottom of those definition pages and get them. Amazing tool.)