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

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Examples of potency in a Sentence

The potency of her words changed many minds in the audience that night. Any vitamin of high potency should only be taken in the proper dosage.
Recent Examples on the Web Many drugs and vaccines can remain effective for years, but all eventually start to lose potency. Julie Wernau, WSJ, 8 June 2021 When 28 residents in two Rochester, New York, nursing homes tested positive for COVID-19 last month, officials there saw the unexpected outbreak as a stark reminder of the potency of the coronavirus vaccine. Laura Romero, ABC News, 7 June 2021 However, creating true differentiation and brand distinction involved building an arsenal of signature house brands of the potency and profitably of Tritton’s Target triumphs. Sanford Stein, Forbes, 25 May 2021 However, those dates are just estimates, since all sanitizers are stored or used under different conditions and, therefore, lose their potency at different rates. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, 24 May 2021 Westminster defeated eight Carroll opponents by 3-0 scores, and exhibited plenty of potency on offense. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 23 May 2021 Still, any political power derived by Biden from his consoler in chief role may lose its potency heading into the 2022 midterm elections, pollsters say. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 16 Apr. 2021 Monoclonal antibodies could also lose their potency because of viral mutations. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, 22 Jan. 2021 Still, uncontrolled spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus risks spawning new variants that may undermine the potency of these immunizations. BostonGlobe.com, 22 May 2021

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.

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First Known Use of potency

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

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Time Traveler for potency

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for potency

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Potency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potency. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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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


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