from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The state of being potential.
  • noun Inherent capacity for growth, development, or coming into existence.
  • noun Something possessing such capacity.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state of being potential; mere being without actualization; the state of being capable of development into actuality: as, to exist in potentiality: opposed to entelechy.
  • noun A potential state, quality, or relation; the inherent capability of developing some actual state or quality; possibility of development in some particular direction; capability; possibility.
  • noun A potential being; a being, or capacity for existence, not yet actualized, but which may be developed into actuality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality or state of being potential; possibility, not actuality; inherent capability or disposition, not actually exhibited.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The quality of being, or having potential.
  • noun An inherent capacity for growth or development.
  • noun An aptitude amenable to development; capability.

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

  • noun an aptitude that may be developed
  • noun the inherent capacity for coming into being


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The ending of this living potentiality is considered wrong for many Christians (Catholics, eastern orthodox) and most Muslims.

    ProWomanProLife » Emergency contraception

  • He felt a sharp gradation between himself and his shipmates, and was wise enough to realize that the difference lay in potentiality rather than achievement.

    Chapter 9

  • But that potentiality is not made easy of accomplishment by reason of its geography.

    The Need for Canadian Military Preparation

  • He felt a sharp gradation between himself and his shipmates, and was wise enough to realize that the difference lay in potentiality rather than achievement.

    Chapter 9

  • But he lived onto propound his extraordinary theory of "potentiality" -- that medicines gained strength by being diluted -- and his even more extraordinary theory that all chronic diseases are caused either by the itch, syphilis, or fig-wart disease, or are brought on by medicines.

    A History of Science: in Five Volumes. Volume IV: Modern Development of the Chemical and Biological Sciences

  • If the notion of potentiality is ruled out of order as Rev has apparently done in a related discussion, doesn't his position imply that a two or three day-old infant is not entitled to legal protection?

    "The proceedings seemed more like a medical school seminar than an appellate argument."

  • Nevertheless, as celestial revolutions are motions, albeit eternal ones, they include some component of potentiality, which is actualised in the motion, and hence this potential component is in need of an actuality as a mover.

    Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

  • _Metaph. _ ix, 20, everything is known as it is in act, and not as it is in potentiality, knowledge primarily and essentially regards being in act, and secondarily regards being in potentiality, which is not knowable of itself, but inasmuch as that in whose power it exists is known.

    Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) From the Complete American Edition

  • “I have made game of my goose, at any rate, and given Bessie Lee a good lesson, on what our old schoolmaster would call the potentiality of mankind — but come,” she added, for though rather ashamed to confess her purpose when she knew ridicule must be braved, courage was easier to Isabella than subterfuge, “Come along with us to Effie's, and I will tell you the joke I played off on Jupe.”

    The Linwoods; Or, "sixty Years Since" in America

  • Anyone with an elementary grip on the notion of potentiality can see that the first kind of overkill objection fails.

    Maverick Philosopher


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.