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Potentiality

The noun potentiality is often used where potential or possibility would make more sense. It has a two main dictionary-approved definitions—(1) the inherent capacity to grow or come into being, and (2) a person or thing that possesses potential. The first definition is almost identical to the main definition of potential, however, and the second comes very close to possibility. So potentiality often bears replacement with those more common words.

Examples

For example, potential could replace potentiality in these sentences:

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Moreover, the two countries have recently locked into a territorial dispute that some observers see as an issue with disruptive potentiality. [Daily Star]

I still have a long way to go to reach a level of completely understanding my inherent potentiality, but I know I am wishful. [Express Buzz]

The court did not rely on the potentiality that services might be extended beyond six months as a reason supporting denial of services. [quoted on Leagle]

And these writers use potentiality where possibility would also work:

Passions understandably have run high during the Israeli deoccupation of Gaza, and eruptions of violence remain an unfortunate but ever-present potentiality. [Roanoke Times]

Instead we were once again told to be afraid of a potentiality. [Murray State News]

According to Szotowski, that potentiality is especially grave given the long term effects of bullying. [Bonner County Daily Bee]

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Comments

  1. Ebenzer Son says:

    The potentiality of him dying is high due to his contraction of cancer.

    Is the above correct in its usage as substitution for “possibility”?

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