potential (adj.)

late 14c., "possible" (as opposed to actual), "capable of being or becoming," from Old French potenciel and directly from Medieval Latin potentialis "potential," from Latin potentia "power, might, force;" figuratively "political power, authority, influence," from potens "powerful," from potis "powerful, able, capable; possible;" of persons, "better, preferable; chief, principal; strongest, foremost," from PIE root *poti- "powerful; lord."

The noun, meaning "that which is possible, anything that may be" is attested by 1817 (Coleridge), from the adjective. Middle English had potencies (plural) "a caustic medicine" (early 15c.).

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Definitions of potential from WordNet
potential (n.)
the inherent capacity for coming into being;
Synonyms: potentiality / potency
potential (n.)
the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts;
Synonyms: electric potential / potential difference / potential drop / voltage
potential (adj.)
existing in possibility;
a potential problem
Synonyms: possible
potential (adj.)
expected to become or be; in prospect;
potential clients
Synonyms: likely