the energy of a body or a system with respect to the position of the body or the arrangement of the particles of the system.
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Compare kinetic energy.
Origin of potential energy
First recorded in 1850–55
Words nearby potential energy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for potential energy
the energy of a body or system as a result of its position in an electric, magnetic, or gravitational field. It is measured in joules (SI units), electronvolts, ergs, etcSymbol: E p, V, U, φ Abbreviation: PE
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
Medical definitions for potential energy
The energy that exists in a body as a result of its position or condition rather than of its motion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Scientific definitions for potential energy
The energy possessed by a body as a result of its position or condition rather than its motion. A raised weight, coiled spring, or charged battery has potential energy. Compare kinetic energy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for potential energy
The energy an object has because of its position, rather than its motion. An object held in a person's hand has potential energy, which turns to kinetic energy — the energy of motion — when the person lets it go, and it drops to the ground.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.