Definitions

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

  • adj. Possessing inner or physical strength; powerful.
  • adj. Exerting or capable of exerting strong physiological or chemical effects: potent liquor; a potent toxin.
  • adj. Exerting or capable of exerting strong influence; cogent: potent arguments.
  • adj. Having great control or authority: "The police were potent only so long as they were feared” ( Thomas Burke).
  • adj. Able to perform sexual intercourse. Used of a male.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Possessing strength
  • adj. Being effective in small quantities.
  • adj. Having a sharp or offensive taste.
  • adj. able to procreate.
  • adj. very powerful or effective.
  • n. A heraldic fur formed by a regular tessellation of blue and white T shapes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Producing great physical effects; forcible; powerful' efficacious.
  • adj. Having great authority, control, or dominion; puissant; mighty; influential.
  • adj. Powerful, in an intellectual or moral sense; having great influence
  • n. A prince; a potentate.
  • n. A staff or crutch.
  • n. One of the furs; a surface composed of patches which are supposed to represent crutch heads; they are always alternately argent and azure, unless otherwise specially mentioned.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Powerful; possessed of inherent strength.
  • Powerful in a moral sense; having great influence; cogent; prevailing; convincing: as, potent arguments; potent interest.
  • Having great authority, control, or dominion.
  • In heraldry, divided or included by a line or lines forming a series of potents: as, a fesse potent. [In this sense originally potenté.]
  • n. A prince; a potentate.
  • n. A crutch; a walking-staff.
  • n. In heraldry: A figure resembling the head of a crutch, and consisting of a parallelogram laid horizontally on the top of a small square.
  • n. A fur made up of patches or figures.
  • n. In watch-making, a journal plate or bearing.

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

  • adj. having or wielding force or authority
  • adj. (of a male) capable of copulation
  • adj. having great influence
  • adj. having a strong physiological or chemical effect

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin potēns, potent-, present participle of posse, to be able; see poti- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin potens ("powerful, strong, potent"), present participle of posse ("to be able"), from potis ("able, powerful, originally a lord, master"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But it's what we're used to, and still remain potent symbols in an age devoid of symbolism.

    Liturgical Wedding Crashers

  • Third receiver in potent passing game and a solid punt returner whose offseason work set an example for other young players.

    Annual All-Joe team: Honoring those who won little acclaim

  • "Like its similarly underrated cousin, Birth, Joshua makes up in potent atmosphere and formal mastery what it lacks in narrative logic; unlike Birth, however, it's further enhanced by two superlative adult performances (courtesy Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) that invest a ludicrous premise with conviction and behavioral nuance."

    GreenCine Daily: Sundance. Joshua.

  • I think the Reload power's more potent from a protective standpoint, but the Google-fu stands to make me more powerful in the world.

    Genie, Give Me A Wish

  • “White Disaster,” some called the potent dwarven drink.

    Stormblade

  • These results on depancreatized dogs showed beyond doubt that the antidiabetic hormone was present in potent form in the extracts, and the time seemed ripe to investigate their action on the clinical forms of diabetes.

    John Macleod - Nobel Lecture

  • However, when the Redskins, one year removed from 4-12 and one week after a two-touchdown loss to the Rams, beat the Eagles, previously presumed to be potent, that is fairly stunning.

    Redskins' Donovan McNabb is the homecoming king in Philadelphia, but he wasn't alone

  • Alcohol is particularly dangerous for teenagers because it is so pervasive in our adult world (and in most human cultures generally), but is not identified as the potent drug it is.

    Sara Whitman: Stoned and Drunk and Messing with Tigers

  • It's very potent, which is good, given the cost, and it puts me in a wonderful mood.

    Anise and Licorice- Love It or Loathe It, Some Gotta Have It

  • Using neuroscience and the most advanced brain-scanning technique available today—the fMRI—global research institute Millward Brown studied the brains of twenty men and women in the UK to find out whether the “Royal Mail experiment” had created true emotional engagement, that is to say, a potent emotional response, in consumers.

    Brand Sense

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