Potent means having great power, influence or effect. I want to know if my usage of potent is correct.

The government needs to find a potent solution to this problem.

His teaching method is potent and unique, that is the reason students like to attend his lecture.

Potent is something effective and powerful. Is potent a correct adjective in these sentences or some other suitable adjective can supplant this adjective?

  • There are certainly other words that could be used. But it would be up to you if you wanted to use something else or not. Commented May 24, 2019 at 11:32
  • I'm not fond of Sentence #2, but it has nothing to do with the word potent. I'd recommend: Students like to attend his lecture because his teaching methods are potent and unique. If the original wording was preserved, I'd recommend a semicolon in place of the comma.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


When you use a word that fits but isn't perhaps commonly used in that context you can create a sentence that has more power behind it. When I see an "interesting" use of a word it often makes me pause and think, sometimes re-read it. So long as it isn't completely wrong and out of context!

"Potent" does mean something effective and powerful, so you are in effect saying "a powerful and effective solution to this problem".

I've got no problem with the word choice. I have heard the antonym of "potent" - "impotent" - used frequently when talking about politics, this BBC News article for example sees the UK government called "impotent" and arguing why they are not.

  • This is a good word usage philosophy.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 14:16

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