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Definition pot

Etymology 1

From Middle English pot, potte, from Old English pott (“a pot”) and Old French pot ("pot"; probably from Frankish *pott); both Old English and Frankish from Proto-Germanic *puttaz (“pot”), from Proto-Indo-European *budnós (“a type of vessel”). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Pot (“pot”), Dutch pot (“pot”), Low German Pott (“pot”), German Pott (“pot”), Swedish pott (“pot”), Icelandic pottur (“tub, pot”), Old Armenian պոյտն (poytn, “pot, earthen pot”).

The sense of ruin or deterioration was originally euphemistic for shit (as in go to shit), from pot's use for its containers. The slang term for toilets and the lavatory similarly derive from the earlier chamberpots although now usually encountered as potty during children's toilet training.


pot (plural pots)

  1. A flat-bottomed vessel (usually metal) used for cooking food.
  2. Various similar open-topped vessels, particularly
    1. A vessel (usually earthenware) used with a seal for storing food, such as a honeypot.
    2. A vessel used for brewing or serving drinks: a coffee or teapot.
    3. A vessel used to hold soil for growing plants, particularly flowers: a flowerpot.
    4. (archaic except in fixed expressions) A vessel used for urination and defecation: a chamber pot; (figuratively, slang) a toilet; the lavatory.
    5. A crucible: a melting pot.
    6. A pot-shaped trap used for catching lobsters or other seafood: a lobster pot.
    7. A pot-shaped metal or earthenware extension of a flue above the top of a chimney: a chimney pot.
    8. A perforated cask for draining sugar.
    9. (obsolete) An earthen or pewter cup or mug used for drinking liquor.
    10. (Australia, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania) A glass of beer in Australia whose size varies regionally but is typically around 10 fl oz (285 mL).
  3. (archaic except in place names) Pothole, sinkhole, vertical cave e.g. Rowten Pot
  4. (slang) Ruin or deterioration.
  5. (historical) An iron hat with a broad brim worn as a helmet.
  6. (rail transport) A pot-shaped non-conducting (usually ceramic) stand that supports an electrified rail while insulating it from the ground.
  7. (gambling, poker) The money available to be won in a hand of poker or a round of other games of chance; (figuratively) any sum of money being used as an enticement.
  8. (Britain, horse-racing, slang) A favorite: a heavily-backed horse.
  9. (billiards) The act of causing a ball to fall into a pocket in cue sports such as billiards.
  10. (slang) Clipping of potbelly: a pot-shaped belly, a paunch.
  11. (slang) Clipping of potshot: a haphazard shot; an easy or cheap shot.
  12. (chiefly East Midlands, Yorkshire) A plaster cast.
  13. (historical) Alternative form of pott: a former size of paper, 12.5 × 15 inches.

pot (third-person singular simple present pots, present participle potting, simple past and past participle potted)

  1. To put (something) into a pot.
  2. To preserve by bottling or canning.
  3. (cue sports) To cause a ball to fall into a pocket.
  4. (cue sports) To be capable of being potted.
  5. (transitive) To shoot with a firearm.
  6. (intransitive, dated) To take a pot shot, or haphazard shot, with a firearm.
  7. (transitive, colloquial) To secure; gain; win; bag.
  8. (Britain) To send someone to gaol, expeditiously.
  9. (obsolete, dialectal, Britain) To tipple; to drink.
  10. (transitive) To drain (e.g. sugar of the molasses) in a perforated cask.
  11. (transitive, Britain) To seat a person, usually a young child, on a potty or toilet, typically during toilet teaching.
  12. (chiefly East Midlands) To apply a plaster cast to a broken limb.

Etymology 2

Possibly a shortened form of Mexican Spanish potiguaya (“marijuana leaves”) or potaguaya (“cannabis leaves”) or potación de guaya (literally “drink of grief”), supposedly denoting a drink of wine or brandy in which marijuana buds were steeped.


pot (uncountable)

  1. (slang, uncountable) Marijuana

Etymology 3

Clipping of potentiometer.


pot (plural pots)

  1. (slang, electronics) A simple electromechanical device used to control resistance or voltage (often to adjust sound volume) in an electronic device by rotating or sliding when manipulated by a human thumb, screwdriver, etc.

Etymology 4

Clipping of potion.


pot (plural pots)

  1. (role-playing games) Clipping of potion.

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