noun, plural po·ten·cies 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 formso·ver·po·ten·cy, noun

Synonyms for potency

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for potency

Contemporary Examples of potency

Historical Examples of potency

  • The potency is in the inferior blood, simply because it is the predominating one.

  • “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 plural -tencies or -tences

the state or quality of being potent
latent or inherent capacity for growth or development

Word Origin for potency

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

Word Origin and History for potency

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

potency in Medicine




The quality or condition of being potent.
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.