WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
po•ten•tial /pəˈtɛnʃəl/USA pronunciation
adj. [before a noun]WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
- possible, as opposed to actual;
that might or could be true but is not yet so:the potential uses of nuclear energy.
- capable of being or becoming:a potential danger.
- possibility:That investment has little growth potential.
- a talent or ability that is present but that may or may not be developed yet:She had great potential as a gymnast.
(pə ten′shəl),USA pronunciation adj.
- possible, as opposed to actual:the potential uses of nuclear energy.
- capable of being or becoming:a potential danger to safety.
- Grammarexpressing possibility:the potential subjunctive in Latin; the potential use ofcan in I can go.
potentiality:an investment that has little growth potential.
- a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.
- a potential aspect, mood, construction, case, etc.
- a form in the potential.
- Electricity, PhysicsSee electric potential (def. 1).
- Mathematics, Physicsa type of function from which the intensity of a field may be derived, usually by differentiation.
- someone or something that is considered a worthwhile possibility:The list of job applications has been narrowed to half a dozen potentials.
- Late Latin potentiālis. See potency, -al1
- Old French)
- Middle English potencial ( 1350–1400
- 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged See latent.
- 5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged capacity, potency.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
potential /pəˈtɛnʃəl/ adj
- possible but not yet actual
- (prenominal) capable of being or becoming but not yet in existence; latent
- (of a verb or form of a verb) expressing possibility, as English may and might
- an archaic word for potent
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French potencial, from Late Latin potentiālis, from Latin potentia powerpoˈtentially adv
- latent but unrealized ability or capacity: Jones has great potential as a sales manager
- a potential verb or verb form
- short for electric potential
'potential' also found in these entries: