powerful; mighty: a potent fighting force.
cogent; persuasive: Several potent arguments were in his favor.
producing powerful physical or chemical effects: a potent drug.
having or exercising great power or influence: a potent factor in the economy.
(of a male) capable of sexual intercourse.

Origin of potent

1490–1500; < Latin potent- (stem of potēns), present participle of posse to be able, have power; see -ent
Related formspo·tent·ly, adverbpo·tent·ness, noun

Synonyms for potent

1. strong, puissant. See powerful. 4. influential.

Antonyms for potent




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.
a T-shaped form used in potent or counterpotent.


(of a cross) having a crosspiece at the extremity of each arm: a cross potent.

Origin of potent

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for potent

Contemporary Examples of potent

Historical Examples of potent

  • None suspect that the potent santon is the traitor Jew; but I know it!

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Unless we see this we miss the most potent fact in the whole situation.

  • The dreaded name of Iroquois is potent, even across the centuries.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Example is one of the most potent of instructors, though it teaches without a tongue.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Woman's tears are the most potent resolvent know to chemistry.

British Dictionary definitions for potent




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

Word Origin for potent

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




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

Word Origin for potent

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 potent

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

Medicine definitions for potent




Exerting or capable of exerting strong physiological or chemical effects.
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.