English translation: those in control, the authorities
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Explanation: The American Heritage Dictionary gives the following definition:
The powers that be: Those in control, the authorities, as in Our plan was vetoed by the powers that be. This expression appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 translation of the Bible (Romans 13:1): “The powers that be are ordained of God.”
The phrase became very popular when David Halberstam published his book entitled "The Powers That Be."