potential 1 of 2


2 of 2


as in possibility
something that can develop or become actual a time when cloning was merely a potential and the stuff of science fiction

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How is the word potential distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of potential are dormant, latent, and quiescent. While all these words mean "not now showing signs of activity or existence," potential applies to what does not yet have existence or effect but is likely soon to have.

a potential disaster

When is it sensible to use dormant instead of potential?

The words dormant and potential can be used in similar contexts, but dormant suggests the inactivity of something (such as a feeling or power) as though sleeping.

their passion had lain dormant

Where would latent be a reasonable alternative to potential?

While the synonyms latent and potential are close in meaning, latent applies to a power or quality that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop.

a latent desire for success

In what contexts can quiescent take the place of potential?

While in some cases nearly identical to potential, quiescent suggests a usually temporary cessation of activity.

the disease was quiescent

Thesaurus Entries Near potential

Cite this Entry

“Potential.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/potential. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on potential

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!