Meaning of POTENTIAL in English

I. po ‧ ten ‧ tial 1 S3 W2 AC /pəˈtenʃ ə l/ BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ potential , ↑ potentiality ; adverb : ↑ potentially ; adjective : ↑ potential ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Late Latin ; Origin: potentialis , from Latin potentia 'power' , from potere ; ⇨ ↑ potent ]

likely to develop into a particular type of person or thing in the future SYN possible

potential customer/buyer/client

new ways of attracting potential customers

potential benefit/problem

the potential benefits of the new system

potential danger/threat/risk

the potential risks to health associated with the drug

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■ nouns

▪ a potential customer/buyer/client

Advertisers want to reach as many potential customers as possible.

▪ a potential candidate

Party leaders have put together a list of 10 potential candidates.

▪ a potential problem

There is a potential problem with the new equipment.

▪ a potential danger/threat/risk

Tired drivers are a potential danger to other road users.

▪ potential conflict

Funding is an area of potential conflict between the two departments.

▪ a potential benefit

The potential benefits must be weighed up against the costs involved.

▪ a potential source of something

A dirty kitchen is a potential source of infection.

II. potential 2 W3 AC BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ potential , ↑ potentiality ; adverb : ↑ potentially ; adjective : ↑ potential ]

1 . the possibility that something will develop in a particular way, or have a particular effect

potential for

The company certainly has the potential for growth.

potential of

the potential of the Internet to create jobs

2 . if people or things have potential, they have a natural ability or quality that could develop to make them very good

have/show potential

She has the potential to become a champion.

with potential

a young player with great potential

achieve/fulfil/realize your (full) potential (=succeed as well as you possibly can)

3 . technical the difference in ↑ voltage between two points on an electrical ↑ circuit

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ have potential

When he saw I had some potential, he gave me extra coaching.

▪ show potential

Nicholson soon showed great potential as an actor.

▪ develop your potential (=succeed by using your skills or talents)

A good school aims to enable pupils to develop their potential.

▪ achieve/fulfil/reach/realize your potential (=succeed as much as you have the potential to succeed)

A lot of athletes find it difficult to achieve their potential.

▪ exploit sb’s/sth’s potential (=use all the qualities that someone or something has)

Until now, the island has not exploited its potential as a tourist destination.

▪ unlock/unleash sb’s potential (=allow them to succeed as well as they can)

Training is a way of unlocking the potential of the workforce.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + potential

▪ great/enormous/considerable potential

This is a team with great potential.

▪ sb’s full potential

We continuously seek to develop people to their full potential.

▪ sb’s true potential (=their full potential)

Malaysia only showed glimpses of their true potential in the final stages of the tournament.

▪ commercial/economic potential (=the potential to earn money)

They were quick to recognize the band’s commercial potential.

▪ leadership potential (=the potential to become a leader)

She always felt that I had leadership potential.

▪ star potential (=the potential to be a star in music, films etc)

The woman who spotted Kate’s star potential was Sarah Doukas.

▪ human potential (=people’s abilities or qualities)

Mass unemployment is a shameful waste of human potential.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.