Potemkin Look up Potemkin at Dictionary.com
in reference to Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), favorite of Catherine II of Russia, especially in reference to the sham villages supposedly erected under his orders for the empress’ tour of Crimea (1787) to create an impression of prosperity and progress. The silent film "Battleship Potemkin" dates from 1925, depicting (with elaboration) events of 1905 and the mutiny of a Russian battleship named for the Tsarist minister.
potence (n.) Look up potence at Dictionary.com
"potency," early 15c., from Old French potence "power," from Latin potentia (see potent).
potency (n.) Look up potency at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Latin potentia "power," from potentem "potent" (see potent).
potent (adj.) Look up potent at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin potentem (nominative potens) "powerful," present participle of *potere "be powerful," from potis "powerful, able, capable; possible;" of persons, "better, preferable; chief, principal; strongest, foremost," from PIE root *poti- "powerful, lord" (cognates: Sanskrit patih "master, husband," Greek posis, Lithuanian patis "husband"). Meaning "having sexual power" is first recorded 1899.
potentate (n.) Look up potentate at Dictionary.com
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).
potential (adj.) Look up potential at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "possible" (as opposed to actual), from Old French potenciel and directly from Late Latin potentialis "potential," from Latin potentia "power, might, force;" figuratively "political power, authority, influence," from potens "powerful" (see potent). The noun, meaning "that which is possible," is first attested 1817, from the adjective.
potentiality (n.) Look up potentiality at Dictionary.com
1620s, from potential + -ity, or else from Medieval Latin potentialitas, from potentialis (see potential).
potentially (adv.) Look up potentially at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "in possibility," opposed to actually; from potential + -ly (2).
potentiate (v.) Look up potentiate at Dictionary.com
1817 (Coleridge) "endow with power," from Latin potentia "power, might, force" (see potential) + -ate (2) on model of German potenzieren. Related: Potentiated; potentiating; potentiation.
potentiometer (n.) Look up potentiometer at Dictionary.com
1868, a hybrid formed from comb. form of Latin potentia "power" (see potential) + Greek-derived -meter.
pothead (n.) Look up pothead at Dictionary.com
also pot-head "chronic marijuana user," 1967, from pot (n.2) + head (n.). Earlier it meant "stupid person" (1530s), from pot (n.1).
pother (n.) Look up pother at Dictionary.com
1590s, "disturbance, commotion," of unknown origin. Meaning "mental trouble" is from 1640s; verb sense of "to fluster" is attested from 1690s.
pothole (n.) Look up pothole at Dictionary.com
also pot-hole, 1826, originally a geological feature in glaciers and gravel beds, from Middle English pot "a deep hole for a mine, or from peat-digging" (late 14c.), now generally obsolete, but preserved in Scotland and northern England dialect; perhaps ultimately related to pot (n.1) on notion of "deep, cylindrical shape." Applied to a hole in a road from 1909.
potion (n.) Look up potion at Dictionary.com
c.1300, pocioun "medicinal drink," from Old French pocion "potion, draught, medicine" (12c.), from Latin potionem (nominative potio) "a potion, a drinking," also "poisonous draught, magic potion," from potus, irregular past participle of potare "to drink," from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink" (cognates: Sanskrit pati "drinks," panam "beverage;" Greek pinein "to drink," poton "that which one drinks," potos "drinking bout;" Old Church Slavonic piti "to drink," pivo "beverage"). Potus as a past participle adjective in Latin meant "drunken."
potlatch (n.) Look up potlatch at Dictionary.com
1845, "a gift," from Chinook jargon pot-latch, "a gift," from Nootka (Wakashan) patshatl "giving, gift." Later (1865) in sense "ceremony in which gifts are exchanged."
potluck (n.) Look up potluck at Dictionary.com
also pot-luck, 1590s, from pot (n.1) + luck; with notion of "one's luck or chance as to what may be in the pot." As an adjective from 1775.
Potomac Look up Potomac at Dictionary.com
river in eastern U.S., from Algonquian Patowmeck, originally the name of a native village in Virginia, perhaps literally "something brought."
potpourri (n.) Look up potpourri at Dictionary.com
also pot-pourri, 1610s, "mixed meats served in a stew," from French pot pourri "stew," literally "rotten pot" (loan-translation of Spanish olla podrida), from pourri, past participle of pourrir "to rot," from Vulgar Latin *putrire, from Latin putrescere "grow rotten" (see putrescent). Notion of "medley" led to meaning "mixture of dried flowers and spices," first recorded in English 1749. Figurative sense (originally in music) of "miscellaneous collection" is recorded from 1855.
Potsdam Look up Potsdam at Dictionary.com
town in Germany, first recorded 993 as Poztupimi; the name is Slavic, the first element is po "by near," the second element evidently was influenced by Dutch names in -dam. The Potsdam Conference of the victorious Allies in World War II was held July 17-Aug. 2, 1945, to decide the fate of Germany.
potsherd (n.) Look up potsherd at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from pot (n.1) + Middle English schoord, from Old English sceard (see shard).
potshot (n.) Look up potshot at Dictionary.com
also pot-shot, 1836, "shot taken at animal simply to 'get it in the pot,' not for sport or marksmanship;" from pot (n.1) + shot (n.). Extended sense of "opportunistic criticism" first recorded 1926. Compare pot-hunter "one who shoots whatever he finds; one who kills for food not for sport."
pottage (n.) Look up pottage at Dictionary.com
"soup, broth," c.1200, potage, literally "that which is put in a pot," from Old French potage "vegetable soup, food cooked in a pot," from pot "pot" (see pot (n.1)). The spelling with double -t- is from early 15c.
potted (adj.) Look up potted at Dictionary.com
of meat, "preserved in a pot," 1640s, past participle adjective from pot (v.). Of a plant, from 1718. In the figurative sense of "put into a short, condensed form," 1866,
potter (n.) Look up potter at Dictionary.com
"maker of pots" (they also sometimes doubled as bell-founders), late Old English pottere "potter," reinforced by Old French potier "potter," both from the root of pot (n.1). As a surname from late 12c. Potter's field (1520s) is Biblical, a ground where clay suitable for pottery was dug, later purchased by high priests of Jerusalem as a burying ground for strangers, criminals, and the poor (Matt. xxvii:7). An older Old English word for "potter" was crocwyrhta "crock-wright."
potter (v.) Look up potter at Dictionary.com
"occupy oneself in a trifling way," 1740, earlier "to poke again and again" (1520s), frequentative of obsolete verb poten "to push, poke," from Old English potian "to push" (see put (v.)). Sense of "occupy oneself in a trifling way" is first recorded 1740. Related: Pottered; pottering.
pottery (n.) Look up pottery at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "a potter's workshop," from Old French poterie (13c.), from potier (see potter (n.)). Attested from 1727 as "the potter's art;" from 1785 as "potteryware."
potty (adj.) Look up potty at Dictionary.com
"crazy, silly," 1916, slang, of unknown origin, perhaps connected to potter (v.). Earlier slang senses were "easy to manage" (1899) and "feeble, petty" (1860).
potty (n.) Look up potty at Dictionary.com
1942, child's word for "chamber pot," from pot (n.1). Potty-training is attested from 1958. Potty-mouth "one who uses obscene language" is student slang from 1968.
POTUS (n.) Look up POTUS at Dictionary.com
wire service acronym for president of the United States (or President of the United States), occasionally used outside wire transmissions by those seeking to establish journalistic credibility, a survival from the Phillips Code, created 1879 by U.S. journalist Walter P. Phillips to speed up transmission by Morse code, but obsolete from c.1940 with the widespread use of teletype machines. Other survivals include SCOTUS for "Supreme Court of the United States."
pouch (n.) Look up pouch at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "bag for carrying things," especially (late 14c.) "small bag in which money is carried," from Anglo-French puche, Old North French pouche (13c.), Old French poche "purse, poke," all from a Germanic source (compare Old English pocca "bag;" see poke (n.1)). Extended to cavities in animal bodies from c.1400.
pouf (n.) Look up pouf at Dictionary.com
"style of elaborate female head-dress," 1817 (in reference to styles of c.1780), from French bouffer "to blow out, puff," probably of imitative origin. In dress-making, recorded from 1869; in reference to over-stuffed cushions, 1884. As a verb by 1882 (implied in pouffed).
poulter (n.) Look up poulter at Dictionary.com
see poulterer.
poulterer (n.) Look up poulterer at Dictionary.com
"dealer in poultry," 1630s, a redundancy, but it has largely ousted original poulter (mid-13c., pulter), from Anglo-French poleter, pulleter, Old French pouletier "poulterer," from pouletrie (see poultry). With agent suffix -er (1). Poetic poulter's measure (1570s), according to Miller Williams, is "So called because with its thirteen feet it suggests the poulter's old practice of giving an extra egg with the second dozen." ["Patterns of Poetry," Louisiana State University, 1986].
poultice (n.) Look up poultice at Dictionary.com
16c. alteration of Middle English pultes (late 14c.), ultimately from Latin pultes, plural of puls "porridge" (see pulse (n.2)).
poultry (n.) Look up poultry at Dictionary.com
"domestic fowls," late 14c. (mid-14c. as "place where poultry is sold"), from Old French pouletrie "domestic fowl" (late 13c.), from pouletier "dealer in domestic fowl," from poulet "young fowl" (see pullet).
pounce (v.) Look up pounce at Dictionary.com
1680s, originally "to seize with the pounces," from Middle English pownse (n.) "hawk's claw" (see pounce (n.)). Meaning "to jump or fall upon suddenly" is from 1812. Figurative sense of "lay hold of eagerly" is from 1840. Related: Pounced; pouncing.
pounce (n.) Look up pounce at Dictionary.com
"claw of a bird of prey," late 15c., pownse, probably from Old French ponchon "lance, javelin; spine, quill" (Modern French poinçon; see punch (v.)). So called for being the "claws that punch" holes in things. In falconry, the heel claw is a talon, and others are pounces. Meaning "an act of jumping or falling upon" is from 1825. In Middle English also the name of a tool for punching holes or embossing metal (late 14c.).
pound (n.1) Look up pound at Dictionary.com
measure of weight, Old English pund "pound" (in weight or money), also "pint," from Proto-Germanic *punda- "pound" as a measure of weight (source of Gothic pund, Old High German phunt, German Pfund, Middle Dutch pont, Old Frisian and Old Norse pund), early borrowing from Latin pondo "pound," originally in libra pondo "a pound by weight," from pondo (adv.) "by weight," ablative of *pondus "weight" (see span (v.)). Meaning "unit of money" was in Old English, originally "pound of silver."

At first "12 ounces;" meaning "16 ounces" was established before late 14c. Pound cake (1747) so called because it has a pound, more or less, of each ingredient. Pound of flesh is from "Merchant of Venice" IV.i. The abbreviations lb., £ are from libra, and reflect the medieval custom of keeping accounts in Latin.
pound (n.2) Look up pound at Dictionary.com
"enclosed place for animals," late 14c., from a late Old English word attested in compounds (such as pundfald "penfold, pound"), related to pyndan "to dam up, enclose (water)," and thus from the same root as pond. Ultimate origin unknown; some sources indicate a possible root *bend meaning "protruding point" found only in Celtic and Germanic.
pound (v.) Look up pound at Dictionary.com
"hit repeatedly," from Middle English pounen, from Old English punian "crush, pulverize, beat, bruise," from West Germanic *puno- (cognates: Low German pun, Dutch puin "fragments"). With intrusive -d- from 16c. Sense of "beat, thrash" is from 1790. Related: Pounded; pounding.
poundage (n.) Look up poundage at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "tax per pound;" 1903 as "weight;" from pound (n.1) + -age.
pour (v.) Look up pour at Dictionary.com
c.1300, of unknown origin, not in Old English; perhaps from Old French (Flanders dialect) purer "to sift (grain), pour out (water)," from Latin purare "to purify," from purus "pure" (see pure). Replaced Old English geotan. Intransitive sense from 1530s. Related: Poured; pouring; pourable. As a noun from 1790.
pouring (adj.) Look up pouring at Dictionary.com
"raining heavily," c.1600, present participle adjective from pour (v.).
pout (v.) Look up pout at Dictionary.com
early 14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Swedish dialectal puta "to be puffed out"), or Frisian (compare East Frisian püt "bag, swelling," Low German puddig "swollen"); related via notion of "inflation" to Old English ælepute "fish with inflated parts," and Middle Dutch puyt, Flemish puut "frog," from hypothetical PIE imitative root *beu- suggesting "swelling" (see bull (n.2)). Related: Pouted; pouting. As a noun from 1590s.
pouty (adj.) Look up pouty at Dictionary.com
1833, from pout + -y (2). Related: Poutiness.
poverty (n.) Look up poverty at Dictionary.com
late 12c., from Old French poverte "poverty, misery, wretched condition" (Modern French pauvreté), from Latin paupertatem (nominative paupertas) "poverty," from pauper "poor" (see poor (adj.)).
Seeing so much poverty everywhere makes me think that God is not rich. He gives the appearance of it, but I suspect some financial difficulties. [Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables," 1862]
Poverty line attested from 1901; poverty trap from 1966; poverty-stricken from 1803.
pow Look up pow at Dictionary.com
expression imitative of a blow, collision, etc., first recorded 1881.
POW (n.) Look up POW at Dictionary.com
also P.O.W., initialism (acronym) for prisoner of war, coined 1919 but not common until World War II.
powder (n.) Look up powder at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "ash, cinders; dust of the earth;" early 14c., "pulverized substance;" mid-14c., "medicinal powder;" late 14c. as "gunpowder," from Old French poudre "dust, powder; ashes; powdered substance" (13c.), earlier pouldre (11c.), from Latin pulverem (nominative pulvis) "dust" (see pollen). Specialized sense "gunpowder" is from late 14c. In the sense "powdered cosmetic," it is recorded from 1570s.

In figurative sense, powder keg is first attested 1855. Powder room, euphemistic for "women's lavatory," is attested from 1936. Earlier it meant "place where gunpowder is loaded on a warship" (1620s). Powder horn attested by 1530s. Powder puff first recorded 1704; as a symbol of femaleness or effeminacy, in use from at least 1930s.

Phrase take a powder "scram, vanish," is from 1920; it was a common phrase as a doctor's instruction, so perhaps from the notion of taking a laxative medicine or a sleeping powder, with the result that one has to leave in a hurry (or, on another guess, from a magician's magical powder, which made things disappear). Powder blue (1650s) was smelt used in laundering; as a color name from 1894.
powder (v.) Look up powder at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to put powder on;" late 14c., "to make into powder," from Old French poudrer "to pound, crush to powder; strew, scatter," from poudre (see powder (n.)). Related: Powdered; powdering.