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[poht-n-see] /ˈpoʊt n si/
noun, plural potencies for 4–6.
the state or quality of being potent.
power; authority.
efficacy; effectiveness; strength.
capacity to be, become, or develop; potentiality.
a person or thing exerting power or influence.
Mathematics. cardinal number (def 2).
Also, potence.
Origin of potency
From the Latin word potentia, dating back to 1530-40. See potent1, -ency
Related forms
overpotency, noun
1. strength, force, energy, capacity, potential. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for potency
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The potency is in the inferior blood, simply because it is the predominating one.

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • “Words are things,” says Mirabeau; and, to the poet, they are things of potency.

    The Emigrant Frederick William Thomas
  • Besides, the fate of ordinary mortals should have no potency for such as we.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa
  • The silence was profound, yet somehow thrilling with potency.

    The Shadow World

    Hamlin Garland
  • It is the righteous of the cause—the humanity of the cause—which constitutes its potency.

    My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass
British Dictionary definitions for potency


noun (pl) -tencies, -tences
the state or quality of being potent
latent or inherent capacity for growth or development
Word Origin
C16: from Latin potentia power, from posse to be able
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for potency

mid-15c., from Latin potentia "power," from potentem "potent" (see potent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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potency in Medicine

potency po·ten·cy (pōt'n-sē)

  1. The quality or condition of being potent.

  2. The pharmacological activity of a compound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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