potential energy


Definition of potential energy

: the energy that a piece of matter has because of its position or nature or because of the arrangement of parts

Examples of potential energy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the coin moves down the bowl, the gravitational potential energy will decrease, resulting in an increase in kinetic energy (which depends on the speed of the coin). Rhett Allain, Wired, "What Even Is Friction, Anyway?," 21 Oct. 2020 But remember, that's just assuming there is a change in gravitational potential energy. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Much Power Does It Take to Do the Red Bull 400 Hill Run?," 1 Oct. 2020 Here, the gravitational potential energy is defined as: Election Sale. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Much Power Does It Take to Do the Red Bull 400 Hill Run?," 1 Oct. 2020 With higher sea surface temperatures and more upper ocean heat content there is more potential energy to fuel storms, which grow through moisture evaporated from the oceans. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Climate change may make extreme hurricane rainfall five times more likely, study says," 29 Aug. 2020 California’s grid operator held off Monday on imposing rolling blackouts after Gov. Gavin Newsom had warned of more potential energy shortages into midweek as the state grapples with a historic heat wave. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: New calculation for carbon pricing proposed," 18 Aug. 2020 Any potential energy from sustained high winds disperses throughout the entire structure, instead of building up in a single area. Fox News, "Round homes and hurricanes: How circular design, emphasis on connections keep these structures standing," 27 May 2020 Well, there are a tremendous number of people who need help, and there's a tremendous amount of potential energy in the idea of this group of people getting back together. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur breaks down the uplifting reunion special," 1 May 2020 This uses a decrease in gravitational potential energy as water moves down a river to turn a turbine. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Long Could the World Run on Geothermal Power?," 10 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'potential energy.' 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 potential energy

1853, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for potential energy

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The first known use of potential energy was in 1853

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Statistics for potential energy

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Potential energy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potential%20energy. Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for potential energy

potential energy


English Language Learners Definition of potential energy

physics : the energy that something has because of its position or the way its parts are arranged

potential energy


Medical Definition of potential energy

: the energy that a piece of matter has because of its position or because of the arrangement of parts

More from Merriam-Webster on potential energy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about potential energy

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