In the What If? post Yoda, the author writes:

Yoda’s greatest display of raw power in the original trilogy came when he lifted Luke’s X-Wing from the swamp.

What does raw power mean? I cannot find any useful example of this phrase in Google. I think it's similar to potential energy in physics context, but I'm not sure about that.

According to Macmillan Dictionary a raw emotion or quality is strong and natural, but not controlled or developed. So I think the same can be applied to power. However, Yoda is known to be a master, so his power cannot be uncontrolled or undeveloped, though I admit that I haven't watched the whole series.

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    CDO supplies an example: raw Feelings or qualities that are raw are natural and difficult to control: We were struck by the raw energy/power of the dancers' performances. // Her emotions are still a bit raw after her painful divorce. //// See also M-W: ...4 c : not tempered : unbridled <raw power> Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 9:57
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    It refers to 'just the power', with the connotation that there is a lot of it. It isn't that the power has been filtered, enhanced, diluted or paced etc. It is 'just' power. Sometimes, you can do a lot with a little. Other times, you simply have a lot. This is a reference to the latter.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 11:34
  • @EdwinAshworth That doesn't seem to be how it's being used in the quote. Yoda's power is anything but difficult to control. That sense of raw would better describe Luke's abilities when he first met Yoda. Or have you not seen the Star Wars movies, so you don't understand the context?
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 20:08
  • @Barmar I should have qualified that I was addressing OP's 'According to Macmillan Dictionary a raw emotion or quality is strong and natural, but not controlled or developed. So I think the same can be applied to power.' // I'd say that the usage here is intended merely to conjure up the notion of a vast amount of power. Sadly, I can't find a dictionary that licenses this. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Raw power has no strict physical meaning; it's descriptive. As Lawrence points out, it simply means the bearer (Yoda) commands an amount of power large enough that he can afford to exercise it without control.

Suppose we're Jedi knights, and a large mob of droids is charging at us. I might have moderate power with high control: perhaps I can overload the power core of a droid in the middle, creating an EMP that temporarily stuns the rest of the mob. You might have moderate power and moderate control: you can knock over the front droid, and hope it knocks over a few more droids behind it (maybe you just enjoy using your saber more).

Yoda has high power and high control: he could perform a refined move like I did, but may instead choose to employ that power in unrefined, raw form, bowling over the entire group, and maybe sweeping them all back several hundred feet.

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