po·ten·cy | \ˈpō-tᵊn(t)-sē \
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 drug can improve sexual potency. vitamins of high potency that should be taken only in the proper dosage

Recent Examples on the Web

However, the potency of the migration debate continues to grow in Italian politics. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy’s Salvini Puts Roadblocks in Migrants’ Way While Reaching Out to Fellow European Populists," 27 June 2018 Lizan Mitchell brings stirring voice and an almost revival-meeting sense of emotional potency to Gonzala — another character whose gender has been switched from the original Shakespeare, along with Francisca, played sharply by Yadira Correa. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Tempest' a satisfying whirl of wit and wizardry at Old Globe," 24 June 2018 Southampton are in particular need of more potency in their attack, with club top goal scorer Charlie Austin chipping in with a measly seven goals in all competitions. SI.com, "Leicester and Southampton Interested in Free-Scoring Ivory Coast International," 15 Apr. 2018 Overall, the track seems to be a little lacking in potency, with just a lone verse from Drake following a catchy chorus. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Ranking Each Song From Side A of Drake's 'Scorpion' Album: Critic's Take," 29 June 2018 Instead, pay attention to the potency (15 percent THC is on the lighter side, 30 percent is rocket fuel). 21. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "21 questions answered about legal marijuana in Massachusetts," 21 June 2018 There’s simply too much advantage for politicians on the fringes in keeping the issue alive and too much fear among moderates of that potency to allow for compromise. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Like Bush and Obama, Trump gets stuck on immigration," 21 June 2018 Approved MyChelle Incredible Pumpkin Peel $23, Amazon $23 (was $28, now 18% off) If the potency of a glycolic peel seems intimidating, consider MyChelle’s pumpkin version, which mildly exfoliates with fruit enzymes. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Are You Exfoliating Your Face Wrong?," 11 July 2018 His power always lay in his individuality: his exposure of twisted inner longings, his articulation of the potency of trauma, and his reified faith in the power of interpersonal grace. Thomas Harlander, Los Angeles Magazine, "Maybe We Should Take David Lynch’s Thoughts on Trump with a Grain of Salt," 27 June 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.

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First Known Use of potency

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

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Statistics for potency

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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

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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 \
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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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