WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
po•ten•tial /pəˈtɛnʃəl/USA pronunciation   adj. [before a noun]
  1. possible, as opposed to actual;
    that might or could be true but is not yet so:the potential uses of nuclear energy.
  2. capable of being or becoming:a potential danger.

n. [uncountable]
  1. possibility:That investment has little growth potential.
  2. a talent or ability that is present but that may or may not be developed yet:She had great potential as a gymnast.
See -pot-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
po•ten•tial  (pə tenshəl),USA pronunciation adj. 
  1. possible, as opposed to actual:the potential uses of nuclear energy.
  2. capable of being or becoming:a potential danger to safety.
  3. Grammarexpressing possibility:the potential subjunctive in Latin; the potential use ofcan in I can go.
  4. [Archaic.]potent1.

  1. possibility;
    potentiality:an investment that has little growth potential.
  2. a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.
  3. Grammar
    • a potential aspect, mood, construction, case, etc.
    • a form in the potential.
  4. Electricity, PhysicsSee  electric potential (def. 1).
  5. Mathematics, Physicsa type of function from which the intensity of a field may be derived, usually by differentiation.
  6. 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
  1. possible but not yet actual
  2. (prenominal) capable of being or becoming but not yet in existence; latent
  3. (of a verb or form of a verb) expressing possibility, as English may and might
  4. an archaic word for potent
  1. latent but unrealized ability or capacity: Jones has great potential as a sales manager
  2. a potential verb or verb form
  3. short for electric potential
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French potencial, from Late Latin potentiālis, from Latin potentia power

poˈtentially adv

'potential' also found in these entries:
Collocations: [enormous, huge, great, considerable] potential (to), a potential [cure, breakthrough, discovery], the [child, boy, girl, student] has potential (to), more...

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