It is used to mean potential, literally hidden, or likely to occur in the future. It originates from the French word potentiel.
Potential energy is the energy of any substance or object. Objects have an energy due to their height from the ground, their mass and the gravity affecting the object. This is potential energy in energy. Energy to potential was first introduced in history by Scottish engineer and physicist William Rankine, and its unit is joulde (J).
The pen on the table, the clock hanging on the wall, the energy accumulated in the dams are potential energy.