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Potentate (from the Latin potens, 'powerful') is a term for a person with potent, sometimes supreme, power. In modern English the term is used to describe people with much political or business power.


The term is used by some translations of the Bible to describe Jesus: it can be found in the King James Version translation of 1 Timothy 6:15. One example of this use is in the hymn "Crown Him with Many Crowns" in which Jesus is described as "potentate of time"

Originally, it designated the absolute monarch of a great state, and was synonymous with autocrat, which was also used as a title. From the negative connotations of such rule, mainly in the Orient, derives its generalized use for the head of any totalitarian or abusive regime, as a synonym for despot, dictator, or tyrant.

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