Potential meaning

pə-tĕn'shəl
Potential is defined as the possibility of becoming something.

An example of potential is the highest grades of which a particular student is capable.

noun
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Capable of being but not yet in existence; latent or undeveloped.

A potential problem; a substance with many potential uses.

adjective
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The definition of potential is having the power or being capable of happening.

An example of potential is dinner plans that are not yet definite.

adjective
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Of, relating to, or being a verbal construction with auxiliaries such as may or can; for example, it may snow.
adjective
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The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or future success.

An investment with a lot of potential; a singer who has the potential to become a major star.

noun
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A potential verb form.
noun
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That can, but has not yet, come into being; possible; latent; unrealized; undeveloped.
adjective
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That has power; potent.
adjective
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A function whose mathematical derivative is a physical field, as a force or an electric or magnetic field.
noun
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The possibility that something might happen or result from given conditions.

A tense situation with the potential to turn into a riot; farming practices that increase the potential for the erosion of topsoil.

noun
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The difference in voltage between two points in an electric circuit or field.
noun
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The work required to bring a unit of positive electric charge from a reference point (as at infinity) to a specified point in an electric field.
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Something that could happen but has not happened yet. Someone who could do something but has yet to do it, as in "He has a lot of potential." Some people never advance beyond the potential.
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Maybe. See also negative, null, and positive.
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Currently unrealized ability (with the most common adposition being to)

Even from a young age it was clear that she had the potential to become a great musician.

noun
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(physics) The gravitational potential is the radial (irrotational, static) component of a gravitational field, also known as the Newtonian potential or the gravitoelectric field.
noun
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(physics) The work (energy) required to move a reference particle from a reference location to a specified location in the presence of a force field, for example to bring a unit positive electric charge from an infinite distance to a specified point against an electric field.
noun
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(grammar) A verbal construction or form stating something is possible or probable.
noun
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Existing in possibility, not in actuality.

The heroic man,—and is not every man, God be thanked, a potential hero?—has to do so, in all times and circumstances.

adjective
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(archaic) Being potent; endowed with energy adequate to a result; efficacious; influential.

And hath, in his effect, a voice potential.

adjective
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(physics) A potential field is an irrotational (static) field.

From Maxwell equations (6.20) it follows that the electric field is potential: E(r) = −gradφ(r).

adjective
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(physics) A potential flow is an irrotational flow.

The non-viscous flow of the vacuum should be potential (irrotational).

adjective
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(grammar) Referring to a verbal construction of form stating something is possible or probable.
adjective
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1
Expressing possibility, capability, power, etc.

The potential mood.

adjective
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Origin of potential

  • Middle English potencial from Old French potenciel from Late Latin potentiālis powerful from Latin potentia power from potēns potent- present participle of posse to be able potent
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Late Latin potentialis, from Latin potentia (“power”), from potens (“powerful”); synchronically analyzable as potent +‎ -ial.
    From Wiktionary