po·​ten·​ti·​al·​i·​ty | \pə-ˌten(t)-shē-ˈa-lə-tē \
plural potentialities

Definition of potentiality 

1 : the ability to develop or come into existence

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Examples of potentiality in a Sentence

would like to see a colony on the moon as an actuality and not merely a potentiality

Recent Examples on the Web

Tempted by the potentialities of technology to create the thoroughly modern totalitarian state with himself at the center, Mr. Xi is rapidly undermining the openness that lifted China out of poverty. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Let’s Vote on a China Cold War," 23 Oct. 2018 Life becomes fuller, richer, but also, in one important arena, decided, and robbed of enticing potentialities. Thomas Swick, Longreads, "Letters from Trenton," 5 July 2018 Additionally, with the expansion of the tournament from 32 teams to 48 teams, this debate has caught alight with the potentiality of seeing an increase in teams of lesser quality. SI.com, "Increasing the Amount of Teams at the World Cup Is a Great Idea, Even if the Quality Will Diminish," 2 July 2018 Poland gleamed as an unknown, an enticing potentiality. Thomas Swick, Longreads, "Letters from Trenton," 5 July 2018 With just four minutes to go in extra time of the 2010 World Cup final, everybody fretting over the potentiality of a penalty shootout, Andres Iniesta sent Spain into frenzy. SI.com, "7 of the Most Euphoric Moments in World Cup History," 31 May 2018 The year 1947 did mark a tipping point between the savagery of the immediate past and the tentative stirrings of postwar potentialities. Dagmar Herzog, New York Times, "Surviving Europe’s Horrendous 20th Century," 6 Apr. 2018 The Paris Saint-Germain academy graduate screened his backline effectively and with commitment, meaning that those ahead of him could play freely and confidently without worrying about the potentiality of danger behind them. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 9 Weeks to Go - France's Magnificent Midfield Quartet, Le Carré Magique," 19 Apr. 2018 And there is also an undercurrent of resentment that newcomers should be telling veteran ranchers about the potentialities of the land in southern Wasco County. David Sarasohn, The New Republic, "Antelope’s Last Stand," 12 Apr. 2018

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

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of potentiality was in 1625

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English Language Learners Definition of potentiality

: a quality that can be developed to make someone or something better

: a chance or possibility that something will happen or exist in the future

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by force of circumstances

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