AskDefine | Define potential

Dictionary Definition

potential adj
1 existing in possibility; "a potential problem"; "possible uses of nuclear power" [syn: possible] [ant: actual]
2 expected to become or be; in prospect; "potential clients"; "expected income" [syn: expected, likely]


1 the inherent capacity for coming into being [syn: potentiality, potency]
2 the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts [syn: electric potential, potential difference, potential drop, voltage]

User Contributed Dictionary



From potentialis, from potentia.


  1. Currently unfulfilled capacity to improve, develop, and achieve impressive feats.
    Even from a young age it was clear that she had great musical potential.
  2. Anything that may be possible; a possibility; potentially.
  3. In the theory of gravitation, or of other forces acting in space, a function of the rectangular coordinates which determine the position of a point, such that its differential coefficients with respect to the coordinates are equal to the components of the force at the point considered; -- also called potential function, or force function. It is called also Newtonian potential when the force is directed to a fixed center and is inversely as the square of the distance from the center.
  4. The energy of an electrical charge measured by its power to do work; hence, the degree of electrification as referred to some standard, as that of the earth; electro-motive force.
  5. A verbal construction or form stating something is possible or probable.


a function
energy of an electrical charge


  1. Being potent; endowed with energy adequate to a result; efficacious; influential.
  2. Existing in possibility, not in actuality.
  3. Referring to a verbal construction of form stating something is possible or probable.

Extensive Definition

potential in Spanish: Potencial
potential in German: Potential
potential in French: Potentiel
potential in Italian: Potenziale
potential in Dutch: Potentiaal
potential in Japanese: ポテンシャル
potential in Polish: Potencjał
potential in Russian: Потенциал
potential in Slovenian: Potencial
potential in Swedish: Potential
potential in Lithuanian: Potencialas

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

EMF, ability, aptitude, bare possibility, between the lines, budding, bump, caliber, capability, capacity, chance, cogitable, concealed, conceivability, conceivable, conceivableness, conceivably possible, conditional, contingency, contingent, covert, cryptic, delitescent, developing, dormant, dower, dowry, electric potential, electromotive force, electromotivity, embryonic, endowment, equipment, esoteric, even chance, eventuality, faculty, flair, forte, future, genius, gift, good chance, good possibility, hibernating, hidden, hope, humanly possible, imaginable, imminent, imperative, implicit, implied, indicative, instinct, jussive, latent, likelihood, likely, long suit, lurking, makings, metier, mode, mood, muffled, mystic, natural endowment, natural gift, obfuscated, obligative, obscured, occult, off chance, optative, outside chance, outside hope, parts, passive, permissive, plausible, possibilities, possibility, possible, possibleness, potency, potential difference, potentiality, power, powers, probability, probable, prospect, qualification, quiescent, remote possibility, sleeping, small hope, speciality, strong flair, strong point, subjunctive, submerged, talent, talents, the attainable, the feasible, the goods, the possible, the stuff, thinkability, thinkable, thinkableness, under the surface, underlying, undeveloped, unmanifested, unrealized, veiled, virtual, virtuality, volt, voltage, what is possible, what it takes, what may be, what might be
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