Definition of potential in English:

potential

adjective

  • attributive Having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.

    ‘a campaign to woo potential customers’
    • ‘Many supermarkets now provide free buses to carry potential customers into their premises.’
    • ‘New or potential customers may be located around the globe or in your local area.’
    • ‘A woman who has fallen on hard times finds a potential saviour among the gravestones.’
    • ‘Visitors to the city's boat show would also be among the potential guests targeted.’
    • ‘She admitted that potential savings were probably not top of the list, however.’
    • ‘For potential investors, the prospect of enjoying cheap beer is far more appealing.’
    • ‘They can be seen as potential development land by philistines who only see land as money waiting to happen.’
    • ‘Why is the government so timid about embryo research given the potential rewards?’
    • ‘There are many potential abuses that future governments may make of the information contained on a card.’
    • ‘Instead the study was just a process to find out the potential capacity for new homes.’
    • ‘This fusion of unfamiliar conditions would normally make the hosts among the potential winners.’
    • ‘Additionally, rarely will a new potential customer buy on the first visit.’
    • ‘It is expressed in the present tense, and refers to current use, not past or future or potential use.’
    • ‘The range of potential targets for future intervention will grow correspondingly.’
    • ‘Hunt said he was worried about the development because of the potential fire threat.’
    • ‘The history of the 1869 work is thought to have boosted its value among potential bidders.’
    • ‘It's a version of last year's winning car, but perhaps near the end of its potential development.’
    • ‘A prospectus for potential sponsors raises the prospect of boarding academies.’
    • ‘Links are also being developed with potential partners in New York, Dubai and Helsinki.’
    • ‘In particular, it claims the cost of the service is likely to turn-off potential customers.’
    possible, likely, prospective, future, probable, budding, in the making
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1mass noun Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.

    ‘a young broadcaster with great potential’
    count noun ‘the potentials of the technology were never wholly controllable’
    • ‘Unfulfilled potential is about as useful as a canal with no water in it.’
    • ‘It is a compliment to his ability and obvious potential that his name has been so widely mentioned.’
    • ‘He is a talented player, but has yet to develop his potential and prove his staying power.’
    • ‘We have vast untapped potential in hydro power and in natural gas from the Arctic.’
    • ‘The first drew on evidence that selection led to a huge waste of national potential.’
    • ‘Its success potential will rest heavily on how strictly its license terms are defined.’
    • ‘The merit acquired from this gift is used to trigger the forces of latent positive potential in oneself or others.’
    • ‘This will allow them to develop individual academic and sporting talent to full potential.’
    • ‘You could say that we can compare our capabilities and potential to that of an iceberg!’
    • ‘It is for the society at large to harness the latent potential in the children and benefit out of that.’
    • ‘It is a tragedy in this case because the life lost was one with such future potential.’
    • ‘In the modern game, too often managers are chosen on potential rather than proven ability.’
    • ‘Any time that a hospital doctor devotes to computing does not lead to increased income potential.’
    • ‘Often the biggest barrier for women is a lack of confidence in their own skills and potential.’
    • ‘Few tracks offer a most searching examination of a thoroughbred's ability, and potential.’
    • ‘If this facility is not used to its potential, the future of the Club could be in jeopardy.’
    • ‘We also see tremendous potential in developing our client base in Harrogate and surrounding areas.’
    • ‘The only real way to compare potential is to give everyone the same chance to shine.’
    • ‘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.’
    possibilities, potentiality, prospects
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often potential for/to do something The possibility of something happening or of someone doing something in the future.
      ‘pesticides with the potential to cause cancer’
      • ‘The potential for future conflicts is horrific, and will remain so while capitalism survives.’
      • ‘The site had previously been listed in the town's Local Plan as having potential for development.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The trials in February are to identify those riders who have potential to compete in the Paralympics.’
      • ‘While I am in favor of this technology, it possesses a hell of a lot of potential for abuse.’
      • ‘Inevitably the campaigners have now turned their sights to potential for suing drinks companies.’
      • ‘There is a ruined former railway cottage on the property with potential for further development.’
      • ‘They have potential for greatness, but they need to let go, let it happen.’
      • ‘There is so much potential for this to be one of Bradford's most attractive shopping thoroughfares.’
      • ‘Rural pubs have great potential to assume a business and community role.’
      • ‘They were of course unaware of the latent potential for economic growth just around the corner.’
      • ‘Modern medicine raises the stakes as its power to do good is accompanied by increasing potential for harm.’
      • ‘It will spend the next few years developing the area's potential for exploration.’
      • ‘It struck them both there was potential to offer a service commercially.’
      • ‘It was as a viable project with potential for economic regeneration and ecological improvements.’
      • ‘He also said the county had huge potential to develop and expand in rural areas.’
  • 2Physics
    The quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

    ‘a change in gravitational potential’
    count noun ‘measurements of induced electrical potentials’
    • ‘A problem with evoked potentials is that their amplitude is exceedingly small.’
    • ‘The normal conduction of action potentials is reliant upon sodium channels.’
    • ‘Electrical action potentials, osmotic perturbations or chemical signals may trigger these waves.’
    • ‘This is well established by studies on electro-osmosis and streaming potentials.’
    • ‘Various measurable bits in the universe have vastly different potentials to have a causal impact.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

potential

/pə(ʊ)ˈtɛnʃ(ə)l/