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 (pō-dĕs′tə, pō′dĕ-stä′)
The chief magistrate in any of the republics of medieval Italy.

[Italian podestà, from Old Italian podestate, from Latin potestās, power, from potis, powerful, able; see poti- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(pɒˈdɛstə; Italian podeˈsta)
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in modern Italy) a subordinate magistrate in some towns
2. (Historical Terms) (in Fascist Italy) the chief magistrate of a commune
3. (Historical Terms) (in medieval Italy)
a. any of the governors of the Lombard cities appointed by Frederick Barbarossa
b. a chief magistrate in any of various republics, such as Florence
[C16: from Italian: power, from Latin potestās ability, power, from posse to be able]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(poʊˈdɛs tə, ˌpoʊ dəˈstɑ)

n., pl. -tas.
any of certain magistrates in Italy, as a chief magistrate in medieval towns and republics.
[1540–50; < Italian podestà power < Latin potestās power, command]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.