po·​ten·​cy | \ ˈpō-tᵊn(t)-sē How to pronounce potency (audio) \
plural potencies

Definition of potency

1a : force, power
b : the quality or state of being potent
c : the ability or capacity to achieve or bring about a particular result

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of potency in a Sentence

The drug can improve sexual potency. vitamins of high potency that should be taken only in the proper dosage

Recent Examples on the Web

Some homeopaths believe that water molecules can have memories of the substance and that shaking the dilutions can increase their healing potency. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Bogus homeopathy data published in top journal sparks outcry, facepalms," 10 Oct. 2018 The essay reflects with particular potency what might be gathered from the collection as a whole. Alana Massey, New York Times, "The Essays Are Personal. The Truths Are Universal.," 19 Apr. 2018 That potency is one reason why a 2015 review of epidemiologic studies and lab experiments published in the American Journal of Infection Control notes that norovirus may present the biggest risk of airborne infection from toilet plume. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What's the Most Sanitary Way to Store Your Toothbrush?," 29 Mar. 2019 The fact that Washington is seemingly in a state of perpetual crisis under Trump means week’s drama has been robbed of some of its potency. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 Cannabis legalization allows for the regulation of cannabis potency and labeling of products with dosage information. WSJ, "Arriving at the Least Bad Marijuana Policy," 11 Jan. 2019 Scoring 44 times for Nice since joining from Lyon in 2014, Plea is an exciting talent who can add extra potency to Spurs already vibrant attacking side. SI.com, "Tottenham Hotspur Reportedly Submit Bid for Highly Rated OGC Nice Attacker Alassane Plea," 27 June 2018 One factor appears to be the short-lived appearance of carfentanil, an opioid with up to 100 times the potency of fentanyl. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Deaths Level Off—and Even Decline—in Some Opioid Hotspots," 31 Dec. 2018 And the potency of this effect has not been studied until now. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Genetic information as self-fulfilling prophecy," 17 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'potency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of potency

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about potency

Statistics for potency

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for potency

The first known use of potency was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for potency



English Language Learners Definition of potency

: the power to influence someone
: the strength or effectiveness of something
: the ability of a man to have sex


po·​ten·​cy | \ ˈpōt-ᵊn-sē How to pronounce potency (audio) \
plural potencies

Medical Definition of potency

: the quality or state of being potent: as
a : chemical or medicinal strength or efficacy a drug's potency
b : the ability to copulate usually used of the male
c : initial inherent capacity for development of a particular kind cells with a potency for eye formation

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on potency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potency

Spanish Central: Translation of potency

Nglish: Translation of potency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of potency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on potency

What made you want to look up potency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!