English

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Etymology

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Borrowed from Latin potentia. Doublet of Potenza.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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potency (countable and uncountable, plural potencies)

  1. Power, authority.
    • c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Measure for Measure”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii], page 67, column 2:
      I would to heauen I had your potencie,
      And you were Isabell: should it then be thus?
      No: I would tell what 'twere to be a Iudge,
      and what a prisoner.
    • 1968, Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2nd edition, London: Fontana Press, published 1993, page 9:
      The doctor is the modern master of the mythological realm, the knower of all the secret ways and words of potency.
  2. The ability or capacity to perform something
    1. (usually of men) Sexual virility: the ability to become erect or achieve orgasm.
      Antonym: impotence
  3. (of alcoholic drinks, of drugs) Concentration; strength
  4. Potentiality, ability, capacity.
  5. (mathematics, dated) Cardinality.

Derived terms

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Translations

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