a person who possesses great power, as a sovereign, monarch, or ruler.

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin potentātus potentate, Latin: power, dominion. See potent1, -ate3

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World English Dictionary
potentate (ˈpəʊtənˌteɪt)
a person who possesses great power or authority, esp a ruler or monarch
[C14: from Late Latin potentātus ruler, from Latin: rule, command, from potens powerful, from posse to be able]

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Word Origin & History

c.1400, from L.L. potentatus "a ruler," also "political power," from L. potentatus "power, dominion," from potentem (nom. potens) "powerful" (see potent).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
As for the queen, she is so far from being a decisive potentate that she can seem goofily out of the loop.
In his later years, he was the potentate of a party that had long stopped believing in its own slogans.
If luscious diversity characterizes the tropical east, then in the domain of the western potentate productivity is king.
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