noun, plural lat·i·ces [lat-uh-seez] /ˈlæt əˌsiz/, la·tex·es.

a milky liquid in certain plants, as milkweeds, euphorbias, poppies, or the plants yielding India rubber, that coagulates on exposure to air.
Chemistry. any emulsion in water of finely divided particles of synthetic rubber or plastic.

Nearby words

  1. laterotorsion,
  2. laterotrusion,
  3. lateroversion,
  4. latescent,
  5. latest,
  6. latex agglutination test,
  7. latex paint,
  8. lath,
  9. lathe,
  10. lather

Origin of latex

1655–65; < New Latin, special use of Latin latex water, juice, liquid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for latex

British Dictionary definitions for latex


noun plural latexes or latices (ˈlætɪˌsiːz)

a whitish milky fluid containing protein, starch, alkaloids, etc, that is produced by many plants. Latex from the rubber tree is used in the manufacture of rubber
a suspension of synthetic rubber or plastic in water, used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber products, etc

Word Origin for latex

C19: New Latin, from Latin: liquid, fluid

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

Word Origin and History for latex



1660s, "body fluid," from Latin latex (genitive laticis) "liquid, fluid," probably from Greek latax "dregs," from PIE root *lat- "wet" (cf. Middle Irish laith "beer," Welsh llaid "mud, mire," Lithuanian latakas "pool, puddle," Old Norse leþja "filth"). Used 1835 to mean "milky liquid from plants." Meaning "water-dispersed polymer particles" (used in rubber goods, paints, etc.) is from 1937. As an adjective by 1954, in place of clasically correct laticiferous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for latex




The colorless or milky sap of certain plants, such as the poinsettia, that coagulates on exposure to air.
An emulsion of rubber or plastic globules in water, used in adhesives and synthetic rubber products.
Related formslatex′ adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for latex



The colorless or milky sap of certain trees and plants, such as the milkweed and the rubber tree, that hardens when exposed to the air. Latex usually contains gum resins, waxes, and oils, and sometimes toxic substances.
A manufactured emulsion of synthetic rubber or plastic droplets in water that resembles the latex of plants. It is used in paints, adhesives, and synthetic rubber products.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.