[ pot ]
See synonyms for pot on Thesaurus.com
  1. a container of earthenware, metal, etc., usually round and deep and having a handle or handles and often a lid, used for cooking, serving, and other purposes.

  2. such a container with its contents: a pot of stew.

  1. the amount contained in or held by a pot; potful.

  2. a container of liquor or other drink: a pot of ale.

  3. liquor or other drink.

  4. a cagelike vessel for trapping fish, lobsters, eels, etc., typically made of wood, wicker, or wire.: Compare lobster pot.

  5. Metallurgy.

    • a vessel for melting metal; melting pot.

    • an electrolytic cell for reducing certain metals, as aluminum, from fused salts.

  6. British.

    • Dialect. a basket or box used for carrying provisions or the like; a pannier.

  7. Slang. a large sum of money.

  8. all the money bet at a single time; pool.

  9. British Slang. (in horse racing) the favorite.

  10. a liquid measure, usually equal to a pint or quart.

  11. Armor.

    • an open, broad-brimmed helmet of the 17th century.

    • any open helmet.

  12. Slang. a potbelly.

verb (used with object),pot·ted, pot·ting.
  1. to put into a pot.

  2. to preserve (food) in a pot.

  1. to cook in a pot.

  2. to transplant into a pot: We must pot the petunias.

  3. Hunting.

    • to shoot (game birds) on the ground or water, or (game animals) at rest, instead of in flight or running: He can't even pot a sitting duck.

    • to shoot for food, not for sport.

  4. Informal. to capture, secure, or win.

verb (used without object),pot·ted, pot·ting.
  1. Informal. to take a potshot; shoot.

Idioms about pot

  1. go to pot, to become ruined; deteriorate: With no one to care for it, the lovely old garden went to pot.

  2. stir the pot, to promote instability or conflict, as by taunting, encouraging, or otherwise provoking the participants in an ongoing disagreement: Trolls on Twitter just want to stir the pot.

  1. sweeten the pot, Informal. sweeten (def. 8).

Origin of pot

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English pott; cognate with Dutch, Low German pot, Old Icelandic pottr, Swedish pott, potta, Danish pot, potte; further origin uncertain

Other words from pot

  • potlike, adjective

Other definitions for pot (2 of 4)

[ pot ]


Origin of pot

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40; said to be a shortening of Mexican Spanish potiguaya or potaguaya, apparently contraction of potación de guaya wine or brandy in which marijuana buds have been steeped (literally, “drink of grief”)

Other definitions for pot (3 of 4)

[ pot ]

nounScot. and North England.
  1. a deep hole; pit.

Origin of pot

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English potte, perhaps identical with pot1

Other definitions for pot. (4 of 4)


  1. potential.

  2. potentiometer.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pot in a sentence

  • A Yankee, whose face had been mauled in a pot-house brawl, assured General Jackson that he had received his scars in battle.

  • And, old ink pot, tuck a horse blanket under my chin, and rub me down with brickbats while I feed!

  • Gunn touched the brim of his soft felt hat, which he wore turned down all round apparently in imitation of a flower-pot.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • The pot goeth so long to the water til at length it commeth broken home.

  • Then with the potatoes we've roasted in the ashes and plenty of bread and butter and a pot of coffee—Well, words fail.

    Dorothy at Skyrie | Evelyn Raymond

British Dictionary definitions for pot (1 of 4)


/ (pɒt) /

  1. a container made of earthenware, glass, or similar material; usually round and deep, often having a handle and lid, used for cooking and other domestic purposes

  2. short for flowerpot, teapot

  1. the amount that a pot will hold; potful

  2. a chamber pot, esp a small one designed for a baby or toddler

  3. a handmade piece of pottery

  4. a large mug or tankard, as for beer

  5. Australian any of various measures used for serving beer

  6. informal a cup or trophy, esp of silver, awarded as a prize in a competition

  7. the money or stakes in the pool in gambling games, esp poker

  8. (often plural) informal a large amount, esp of money

  9. a wicker trap for catching fish, esp crustaceans: a lobster pot

  10. billiards snooker a shot by which a ball is pocketed

  11. mainly British short for chimneypot

  12. US informal a joint fund created by a group of individuals or enterprises and drawn upon by them for specified purposes

  13. hunting See pot shot

  14. go to pot to go to ruin; deteriorate

verbpots, potting or potted (mainly tr)
  1. to set (a plant) in a flowerpot to grow

  2. to put or preserve (goods, meat, etc) in a pot

  1. to cook (food) in a pot

  2. to shoot (game) for food rather than for sport

  3. to shoot (game birds or animals) while they are on the ground or immobile rather than flying or running

  4. (also intr) to shoot casually or without careful aim at (an animal, etc)

  5. to sit (a baby or toddler) on a chamber pot

  6. (also intr) to shape clay as a potter

  7. billiards snooker to pocket (a ball)

  8. informal to capture or win; secure

Origin of pot

Late Old English pott, from Medieval Latin pottus (unattested), perhaps from Latin pōtus a drink; compare Middle Low German pot, Old Norse pottr

British Dictionary definitions for pot (2 of 4)


/ (pɒt) /

    • Scot and Northern English dialect a deep hole or pothole

    • (capital when part of a name): Pen-y-Ghent Pot

Origin of pot

C14: perhaps identical with pot 1 but possibly of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect putt water hole, pit

British Dictionary definitions for pot (3 of 4)


/ (pɒt) /

  1. slang cannabis used as a drug in any form, such as leaves (marijuana or hemp) or resin (hashish)

Origin of pot

C20: perhaps shortened from Mexican Indian potiguaya

British Dictionary definitions for pot (4 of 4)


/ (pɒt) /

  1. informal short for potentiometer

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pot


In addition to the idiom beginning with pot

  • pot calling the kettle black, the

also see:

  • fish or cut bait (shit or get off the pot)
  • go to pot
  • hit the jackpot
  • sweeten the kitty (pot)
  • take potluck
  • tempest in a teapot
  • watched pot never boils

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.