/peuh ten"sheuhl/ , adj.
1. possible, as opposed to actual: the potential uses of nuclear energy.
2. capable of being or becoming: a potential danger to safety.
3. Gram. expressing possibility: the potential subjunctive in Latin; the potential use of can in I can go.
4. Archaic. potent 1 .
5. possibility; potentiality: an investment that has little growth potential.
6. a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.
a. a potential aspect, mood, construction, case, etc.
b. a form in the potential.
8. Elect. See electric potential (def. 1).
9. Math. , Physics. a type of function from which the intensity of a field may be derived, usually by differentiation.
10. someone or something that is considered a worthwhile possibility: The list of job applications has been narrowed to half a dozen potentials.
[ 1350-1400; ME potencial ( potentialis. See POTENCY, -AL 1 ]
Syn. 2. See latent. 5. capacity, potency.