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Origin of potentate

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin potentātus potentate, Latin: power, dominion. See potent1, -ate3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for potentate

Contemporary Examples of potentate

  • Money became a potentate whose power is greater even than that of the president, controlling and outlasting any political fortune.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Money Rules in the New D.C.

    Jane Hitchcock

    April 8, 2009

Historical Examples of potentate

British Dictionary definitions for potentate


  1. a person who possesses great power or authority, esp a ruler or monarch

Word Origin for potentate

C14: from Late Latin potentātus ruler, from Latin: rule, command, from potens powerful, 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 potentate

c.1400, from Old French potentat and directly from Late Latin potentatus "a ruler," also "political power," from Latin potentatus "might, power, rule, dominion," from potentem (nominative potens) "powerful" (see potent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper