From Proto-Italic *potistāts. Equivalent to possum / potis + -tās.



potestās f (genitive potestātis); third declension

  1. power, ability
  2. mastery, control
  3. authority, jurisdiction
  4. dominion, political power
    Synonyms: dicio, imperium, arbitrium, auctōritās
  5. right, legal power
  6. (of a word) meaning
  7. possibility, opportunity


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative potestās potestātēs
Genitive potestātis potestātum
Dative potestātī potestātibus
Accusative potestātem potestātēs
Ablative potestāte potestātibus
Vocative potestās potestātēs

Derived termsEdit



  • potestas”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • potestas”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • potestas in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • potestas in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • power over life and death: potestas vitae necisque
    • to be in a person's power: in manu, in potestate alicuius situm, positum esse
    • to give a man the opportunity of doing a thing: potestatem, copiam alicui dare, facere with Gen. gerund.
    • to deprive a man of the chance of doing a thing: facultatem, potestatem alicui eripere, adimere
    • to give audience to some one: sui potestatem facere, praebere alicui
    • despotic, tyrannous rule: potestas immoderata, infinita
    • to give up, lay down office (usually at the end of one's term of office): de potestate decedere
    • he has power over life and death: potestatem habet in aliquem vitae necisque (B. G. 1. 16. 5)
    • to give up one's person and all one's possessions to the conqueror: se suaque omnia permittere victoris potestati
    • to surrender oneself to the discretion of some one: se permittere in fidem atque in potestatem alicuius (B. G. 2. 3)
    • to offer battle to the enemy: potestatem, copiam pugnandi hostibus facere
    • to accept battle: potestatem sui facere (alicui) (cf. sect. XII. 9, note audientia...)
    • to reduce a country to subjection to oneself: populum in potestatem suam redigere (B. G. 2. 34)
    • to make oneself master of a people, country: populum, terram suo imperio, suae potestati subicere (not sibi by itself)
    • to make one's submission to some one: in alicuius potestatem se permittere
    • to be subject to some one, under some one's dominion: in potestate, in dicione alicuius esse
  • potestas”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • potestas in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700[2], pre-publication website, 2005-2016
  • potestas”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin