potential function
Potential Po*ten"tial, n. 1. Anything that may be possible; a possibility; potentially. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

2. (Math.) In the theory of gravitation, or of other forces acting in space, a function of the rectangular coordinates which determine the position of a point, such that its differential coefficients with respect to the co["o]rdinates are equal to the components of the force at the point considered; -- also called {potential function}, or {force function}. It is called also {Newtonian potential} when the force is directed to a fixed center and is inversely as the square of the distance from the center. [1913 Webster]

3. (Elec.) The energy of an electrical charge measured by its power to do work; hence, the degree of electrification as referred to some standard, as that of the earth; electro-motive force. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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