A potential problem; a substance with many potential uses.
An investment with a lot of potential; a singer who has the potential to become a major star.
An example of potential is the highest grades of which a particular student is capable.
Even from a young age it was clear that she had the potential to become a great musician.
From Maxwell equations (6.20) it follows that the electric field is potential: E(r) = −gradφ(r).
The non-viscous flow of the vacuum should be potential (irrotational).
The heroic man,—and is not every man, God be thanked, a potential hero?—has to do so, in all times and circumstances.
An example of potential is dinner plans that are not yet definite.
The potential mood.
A tense situation with the potential to turn into a riot; farming practices that increase the potential for the erosion of topsoil.
Other Word Forms
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