po·​ten·​ti·​al·​i·​ty | \ pə-ˌten(t)-shē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce potentiality (audio) \
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 Finding a solution to a puzzle with that degree of complexity, and among billions of potentialities, involves a degree of abstract thinking that, researchers say, begins to approximate human reasoning and decision-making. Washington Post, "This robotic hand learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube on its own — just like a human.," 18 Oct. 2019 Each figure played a key role in shaping an evocative notion of the region’s sense of potentiality. Lynell George, Los Angeles Times, "These stories explain L.A.'s dazzling rise," 7 Sep. 2019 Marco Silva is the astute mind that can turn potentiality into actuality, especially with the talent littering his squad. SI.com, "Premier League 2019/20: Assessing Who Can Break the 'Big Six' Next Season," 6 June 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for potentiality

Time Traveler

The first known use of potentiality was in 1625

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Statistics for potentiality

Cite this Entry

“Potentiality.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potentiality. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for potentiality


How to pronounce potentiality (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on potentiality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potentiality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with potentiality

Britannica English: Translation of potentiality for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about potentiality

Comments on potentiality

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


to assert without proof or before proving

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