Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Potency.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. power or strength; potency
  • n. A stud that acts as a support of a pivot in a watch or clock

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Potency; capacity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Power; potency.
  • n. In heraldry: A bearing of the shape of a capital T—that is, a cross tau.
  • n. The termination of an ordinary or other bearing when of that form.
  • n. In watch-making, the counter-bridge to the main cock or bridge on the top plate of a watch, holding the jeweling for the balance-staff, cylinder, or verge.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being potent; a male's capacity to have sexual intercourse

Etymologies

From Old French potence ("power, a crutch"), from Latin potentia ("power, in Medieval Latin also crutch"), from potens ("powerful"); see potent. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A quoi bon une potence en or si c'est vous que l'on va pendre ?

    Archive 2010-05-01

  • “If he is left to my disposal,” said the King, “I will at least give him one lesson in the science of heraldry, in which he is so ignorant — only explain to him practically the meaning of a cross potence, with a noose dangling proper.”

    Quentin Durward

  • The potence of personality is certainly incalculable.

    No Catholic Church, No Dorothy Day

  • Sometimes the inferior power emanates in its totality from the superior, in which case the entire potence of the former is founded upon the potence of the latter, so that obedience is due to the higher at all times and without exceptions.

    The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas

  • There is a whole fabric of toxic assumptions built into the implicit idea that there is a sliding scale of sexual potence and vitality with Black men at one end and Asian men at the other with whites in between.

    More Racist and Inappropriate Comments Directed at Interracial Relationships

  • The fact that a Republican House gave him omni-potence last Fall to do what the hell he wants, without consultation, and certainly without having to justify anything to the millions of Americans taking to the streets (what he calls a focus group) is proof positive the system is broken.

    Walk-Outs, Protests Today at cvillenews.com

  • I have long been convinced of the eventual omnipotence of mind over matter; adequacy of motive is sufficient to anything, & my golden age is when the present potence will become omnipotence: this will be the millenium [sic] of Xtians 'when the lion shall lay down with the lamb'.

    Ecotopia

  • It's as if C.L. Moore had tried to do a story dealing with Northwest Smith's fear of im-potence.

    The Metrognome and Other Stories

  • The potence of her attraction lay in her not being English in her being, not only Margey, but Cathay, far Cathay.

    A Rude Awakening

  • Other Mu ` ta - zilites, rejecting this view as a denial of divine omni - potence, held that God has the power to perform unjust acts, but in fact never does.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

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Comments

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  • "fr. troops are ranged en potence, when any part of a line is thrown forward or backward, so as to form a right angle with the remaining part of the line. When a potence is formed on both flanks of the line, it is called the double potence." (citation in list description)

    October 9, 2008