Potential energy

Man jumping and leaving light streaks
Stanislaw Pytel/ Stone/ getty Images

Definition: Potential energy, or stored energy, is the ability of a system to do work due to its position or internal structure. For example, gravitational potential energy is a stored energy determined by an object's position in a gravitational field while elastic potential energy is the energy stored in a spring.

As a form of energy, the SI units for potential energy are the joule (J) or newton-meter (N*m).