- present but not visible, apparent, or actualized; existing as potential: latent ability.
- Pathology. (of an infectious agent or disease) remaining in an inactive or hidden phase; dormant.
- Psychology. existing in unconscious or dormant form but potentially able to achieve expression: a latent emotion.
- Botany. (of buds that are not externally manifest) dormant or undeveloped.
Origin of latent
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for latent
But a recent trend is capitalizing on our latent desires to actually become the famous people we love and love to hate.Kevin Spacey and the Most Inexplicable Celebrity Video Game Cameos
May 3, 2014
So it carbonates all of these, I'd say latent desires, to have more meaning in his life.'About a Boy' Star David Walton Is No Hugh Grant, in the Best Way
February 20, 2014
Many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations are boiling inside the Negro, and he must release them.Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 19, 2014
It was more science faction, a monument to human potential—including the latent potential for self-destruction.At the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a Steady Drip of Toxic Trouble
February 24, 2013
But the "Zoabiz" was a small reminder that latent chauvinism is alive and well.The Latent Chauvinism Of Lapid's "Zoabiz" Apology
February 14, 2013
I refer, of course, to man's mastery over the latent forces of Nature.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
Few could imagine from his modest exterior the latent, fire and energy which burn in his bosom.Ridgeway
It is the latent motherhood within her that has been denied its own.Quaint Courtships
"No," said the other, still with that latent touch of sarcasm in her voice.Meadow Grass
She is going strong, and has developed all sorts of latent talent as a cook.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
- potential but not obvious or explicit
- (of buds, spores, etc) dormant
- pathol (esp of an infectious disease) not yet revealed or manifest
- (of a virus) inactive in the host cell, its nucleic acid being integrated into, and replicated with, the host cell's DNA
- psychoanal relating to that part of a dream expressive of repressed desireslatent content Compare manifest (def. 2)
Word Origin and History for latent
mid-15c., "concealed, secret," from Latin latentem (nominative latens) "lying hid, secret, unknown," present participle of latere "to lie hidden," from PIE *laidh-, from root *la- "to be hidden" (cf. Greek lethe "forgetfulness, oblivion," Old Church Slavonic lajati "to lie in wait for"). Meaning "dormant" is from 1680s.
- Present or potential but not evident or active.
- In a dormant or hidden stage, as an infection.
- Undeveloped but capable of normal growth under the proper conditions.
- Present in the unconscious mind but not consciously expressed.