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Potable vs. Pottable: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 3, 2023
"Potable" refers to water that is safe to drink. "Pottable" isn't a recognized term in standard English.

Key Differences

"Potable" is an adjective that directly relates to water's safety for human consumption. When water is described as potable, it means that it is free from contaminants and can be ingested without any health risks. This term is widely used in environmental science, health sectors, and public policy to categorize sources of water that are suitable for drinking.
"Pottable," on the other hand, is not a recognized term in the English language. It's possible that "pottable" might be a typographical error or a mispronunciation of "potable." Mistakes like these can occur in everyday communication or writing, and it's important to recognize and correct them to ensure clarity.
When examining both terms, the distinction is clear. "Potable" is a term that carries significant weight, especially in contexts concerning health and the environment. Safe drinking water is essential for life, and the word "potable" serves to highlight the importance of this resource.
In contrast, "pottable" does not convey any established meaning. It's essential to use words accurately, especially in contexts that might impact public understanding or policy decisions. In situations where water safety is being discussed, "potable" is the correct term to use.

Comparison Chart


Water safe for drinking
Not a recognized term

Use in English

Common in health/environment contexts
Not used


Derived from Latin "potare" (to drink)



Associated Contexts

Environmental science, public health

Potable and Pottable Definitions


Free from contaminants and safe to ingest.
The new filter made the stream water potable.


In billiards, pool, or snooker: able to be potted.


Water fit to be drunk.
The village finally has a source of potable water.


(horticulture) Suitable for planting in a pot.


Safe for drinking without causing harm.
We need to ensure potable water for everyone.


"pottable" is not a recognized term in standard English.


Suitable for human consumption.
Many areas struggle to maintain potable water supplies.


Meeting safety standards for drinking.
Their main concern was the availability of potable water.


Fit to drink.


A beverage, especially an alcoholic beverage
Wine and other potables.


(formal) Good for drinking without fear of disease or poisoning.


Any drinkable liquid; a beverage.


Fit to be drunk; drinkable.


Any liquid suitable for drinking;
May I take your beverage order?


Of alcoholic beverages that are suitable for drinking;
It's an impudent young wine but I think you will find it quite potable


Does "potable" only apply to water?

Primarily, but it can describe any safe-to-drink liquid.

Is "potable" a common term?

Yes, it's commonly used to describe safe drinking water.

Are there synonyms for "potable"?

Yes, like "drinkable" or "safe for drinking."

How can I ensure water is potable?

Test for contaminants and treat if necessary.

Can I use "pottable" in my essay on water safety?

No, "pottable" isn't recognized; use "potable."

Is bottled water always potable?

Generally, but always check for quality standards.

Does boiling make water potable?

It kills many pathogens but doesn't remove chemicals.

I saw "pottable" in a text. Is it a typo?

Likely, it's often mistakenly used for "potable."

Are all potable waters taste good?

Not necessarily; potable means safe, not flavorful.

What makes water non-potable?

Contaminants like pathogens, chemicals, or heavy metals.

Are there potable water shortages?

Yes, many regions face challenges in accessing safe water.

Can "potable" describe alcohol?

Yes, as in "potable spirits," but its primary use is for water.

Is "pottable" a brand or product?

Not commonly, but always check specific contexts.

Does "pottable" relate to pots?

No, "pottable" isn't a recognized term in this context.

How is potable water treated?

Through filtration, purification, and disinfection processes.

Is "pottable" a future term in English?

There's no indication of that. Stick with "potable."

Where did "potable" originate?

From the Latin "potare," meaning "to drink."

Can water be non-potable but clear?

Yes, clarity doesn't guarantee safety.

How is potable water stored?

In sanitized containers, away from contaminants.

Is seawater potable?

No, it contains salt and other minerals.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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