[ leyt-nt ]
/ ˈleɪt nt /
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.
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Origin of latent
First recorded before 1610–20; from Latin latent- (stem of latēns ) present participle of latēre “to lie hidden”; see origin at -ent
synonym study for latent
1. Latent, potential refer to powers or possibilities existing but hidden or not yet actualized. Latent emphasizes the hidden character or the dormancy of what is named: latent qualities, defects, diseases. That which is potential exists in an as yet undeveloped state, but is thought of as capable of coming into full being or activity at some future time: potential genius, tragedy. Potential may be applied also to tangibles: High-tension wires are a potential source of danger.
OTHER WORDS FROM latentla·tent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
Example sentences from the Web for latent
But a more serious consequence is latently contained in it, and nothing else than the Nestorian heresy, viz.An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine|John Henry Cardinal Newman
The deeper sort, however, usually felt it latently English enough.The Tragic Muse|Henry James
This one's mind, he could now see, was immature but latently capable.Man of Many Minds|E. Everett Evans
British Dictionary definitions for latent
/ (ˈleɪtənt) /
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)
Derived forms of latentlatency, nounlatently, adverb
Word Origin for latent
C17: from Latin latēnt-, from latens present participle of latēre to lie hidden
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Medical definitions for latent
[ lāt′nt ]
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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.