Definition of potential in English:

potential

adjective

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

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

noun

  • 1Latent 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’
    • ‘The only real way to compare potential is to give everyone the same chance to shine.’
    • ‘Any time that a hospital doctor devotes to computing does not lead to increased income potential.’
    • ‘He is a talented player, but has yet to develop his potential and prove his staying power.’
    • ‘It is for the society at large to harness the latent potential in the children and benefit out of that.’
    • ‘If this facility is not used to its potential, the future of the Club could be in jeopardy.’
    • ‘We have vast untapped potential in hydro power and in natural gas from the Arctic.’
    • ‘It is a compliment to his ability and obvious potential that his name has been so widely mentioned.’
    • ‘Unfulfilled potential is about as useful as a canal with no water in it.’
    • ‘You could say that we can compare our capabilities and potential to that of an iceberg!’
    • ‘The first drew on evidence that selection led to a huge waste of national potential.’
    • ‘The merit acquired from this gift is used to trigger the forces of latent positive potential in oneself or others.’
    • ‘It is a tragedy in this case because the life lost was one with such future potential.’
    • ‘He was talented and hard-working and had such potential for success in life.’
    • ‘This will allow them to develop individual academic and sporting talent to full potential.’
    • ‘Few tracks offer a most searching examination of a thoroughbred's ability, and potential.’
    • ‘Its success potential will rest heavily on how strictly its license terms are defined.’
    • ‘Following on from this, I think this story has excellent potential if developed cleverly.’
    • ‘In the modern game, too often managers are chosen on potential rather than proven ability.’
    • ‘We also see tremendous potential in developing our client base in Harrogate and surrounding areas.’
    • ‘Often the biggest barrier for women is a lack of confidence in their own skills and potential.’
    possibilities, potentiality, prospects
    promise, capability, capacity, ability, power
    aptitude, talent, flair
    what it takes
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The 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’
      • ‘He also said the county had huge potential to develop and expand in rural areas.’
      • ‘Inevitably the campaigners have now turned their sights to potential for suing drinks companies.’
      • ‘More to the point still, is this potential to anger particularly strong in the media?’
      • ‘It struck them both there was potential to offer a service commercially.’
      • ‘It has experienced strong growth in the past three years and has good potential for future growth.’
      • ‘While I am in favor of this technology, it possesses a hell of a lot of potential for abuse.’
      • ‘There is a ruined former railway cottage on the property with potential for further development.’
      • ‘Modern medicine raises the stakes as its power to do good is accompanied by increasing potential for harm.’
      • ‘There is so much potential for this to be one of Bradford's most attractive shopping thoroughfares.’
      • ‘The potential for future conflicts is horrific, and will remain so while capitalism survives.’
      • ‘They have potential for greatness, but they need to let go, let it happen.’
      • ‘It was as a viable project with potential for economic regeneration and ecological improvements.’
      • ‘The trials in February are to identify those riders who have potential to compete in the Paralympics.’
      • ‘It will spend the next few years developing the area's potential for exploration.’
      • ‘Rural pubs have great potential to assume a business and community role.’
      • ‘The site had previously been listed in the town's Local Plan as having potential for development.’
      • ‘They were of course unaware of the latent potential for economic growth just around the corner.’
  • 2Physics
    The quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

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

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

/pəˈten(t)SHəl/