verb (used with object), po·ten·ti·at·ed, po·ten·ti·at·ing.
  1. to cause to be potent; make powerful.
  2. to increase the effectiveness of; intensify.

Origin of potentiate

1810–20; < Latin potenti(a) power (see potency) + -ate1
Related formspo·ten·ti·a·tion, nounpo·ten·ti·a·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of potentiate

British Dictionary definitions for potentiate


verb (tr)
  1. to cause to be potent
  2. med to increase (the individual action or effectiveness) of two drugs by administering them in combination with each other
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 potentiate

1817 (Coleridge) "endow with power," from Latin potentia "power, might, force" (see potential) + -ate (2) on model of German potenzieren. Related: Potentiated; potentiating; potentiation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

potentiate in Medicine


  1. To make potent or powerful.
  2. To enhance or increase the effect of a drug.
  3. To promote or strengthen a biochemical or physiological action or effect.
Related formspo•ten′ti•ation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.