Definition of potential in English:


Syllabification: po·ten·tial
Pronunciation: /pəˈten(t)SHəl


Having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future: a two-pronged campaign to woo potential customers
More example sentences
  • In particular, it claims the cost of the service is likely to turn-off potential customers.
  • Links are also being developed with potential partners in New York, Dubai and Helsinki.
  • Instead the study was just a process to find out the potential capacity for new homes.
possible, likely, prospective, future, probable;
latent, inherent, undeveloped


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1Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness: a young broadcaster with great potential the potentials of the technology were never wholly controllable
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  • Following on from this, I think this story has excellent potential if developed cleverly.
  • He was talented and hard-working and had such potential for success in life.
  • The merit acquired from this gift is used to trigger the forces of latent positive potential in oneself or others.
promise, capability, capacity
1.1 (often potential for/to do something) The possibility of something happening or of someone doing something in the future: the crane operator’s clear view reduces the potential for accidents pesticides with the potential to cause cancer
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  • They were of course unaware of the latent potential for economic growth just around the corner.
  • It has experienced strong growth in the past three years and has good potential for future growth.
  • More to the point still, is this potential to anger particularly strong in the media?
2 Physics The quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.
More example sentences
  • The normal conduction of action potentials is reliant upon sodium channels.
  • Electrical action potentials, osmotic perturbations or chemical signals may trigger these waves.
  • Various measurable bits in the universe have vastly different potentials to have a causal impact.


late Middle English: from late Latin potentialis, from potentia 'power', from potent- 'being able' (see potent1). The noun dates from the early 19th century.



Pronunciation: /pəˌtenCHēˈalətē/
More example sentences
  • The potentialities and possibilities of the electronic medium have been put to use to achieve this end.
  • The nature of such powers (also referred to as dispositions, tendencies, potentialities and capacities) is a hotly disputed issue in contemporary metaphysics.
  • It has little or no real interest in other skills, abilities, or potentialities, not to mention the needs, desires, imagination, or commitment to intellectual life of faculty members.


More example sentences
  • The ritualised practice of cruising potentialises the automobilised space of the street and carpark so it becomes an event-space where the incorporeal event of ‘nothing’ happens.
  • In that sense, being non-intelligible logically potentialises new identities to form, allowing indeterminacy to wriggle out from under the pall of subjection.
  • It is the type of development that might have been further potentialised in terms of its capacity for international and global linkage.


[as submodifier]: potentially dangerous products [sentence adverb]: potentially an even bigger bombshell is about to burst
More example sentences
  • However this is a potentially dangerous and possibly fatal path to venture down.
  • They were driving too fast and competitively in a potentially dangerous situation.
  • The son had been found to carry a lot of potentially toxic waste products in his body.

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