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  1. a fur having a pattern of T-shaped forms, placed in alternate directions and having alternating tinctures, one metal and one color, so that all forms of one tincture face the same way and are between, above, and below forms of the other tincture facing the other way.
  2. a T-shaped form used in potent or counterpotent.
  1. (of a cross) having a crosspiece at the extremity of each arm: a cross potent.

Origin of potent2

1325–75; Middle English potente crutch, variant of potence < French crutch, support < Medieval Latin potentia, Latin: power, potency
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for potents

Historical Examples

  • The heads of the crutches or potents touch each other in the centre of the shield.

    The Manual of Heraldry; Fifth Edition</p>


British Dictionary definitions for potents


  1. possessing great strength; powerful
  2. (of arguments, etc) persuasive or forceful
  3. influential or authoritative
  4. tending to produce violent physical or chemical effectsa potent poison
  5. (of a male) capable of having sexual intercourse
Derived Formspotently, adverbpotentness, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin potēns able, from posse to be able


  1. heraldry (of a cross) having flat bars across the ends of the arms

Word Origin

C17: from obsolete potent a crutch, from Latin potentia power
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

Word Origin and History for potents



early 15c., from Latin potentem (nominative potens) "powerful," present participle of *potere "be powerful," from potis "powerful, able, capable; possible;" of persons, "better, preferable; chief, principal; strongest, foremost," from PIE root *poti- "powerful, lord" (cf. Sanskrit patih "master, husband," Greek posis, Lithuanian patis "husband"). Meaning "having sexual power" is first recorded 1899.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

potents in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. Exerting or capable of exerting strong physiological or chemical effects.
  2. Able to perform sexual intercourse. Used of a male.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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