Synonyms & Antonyms of potential

(Entry 1 of 2)

existing only as a possibility and not in fact
  • I can see a few potential problems with co-owning a beach house with another couple

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Synonyms & Antonyms of potential (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Frequently Asked Questions About potential

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

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Time Traveler for potential

Time Traveler

The first known use of potential was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Potential.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on potential

Nglish: Translation of potential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of potential for Arabic Speakers


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