1. potentially existing but not presently evident or realized
; - Example: "a latent fingerprint"- Example: "latent talent"
2. (pathology) not presently active
; - Example: "latent infection"- Example: "latent diabetes"
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Latent \La"tent\ (l[=a]"tent), a. [L. latens, -entis, p. pr. of
latere to lie hid or concealed; cf. Gr. lanqa`nein, E.
lethargy: cf. F. latent.]
1. Not visible or apparent; hidden; concealed; secret;
dormant; as, latent springs of action.
The evils latent in the most promising contrivances
are provided for as they arise. --Burke.
2. (Med.) Existing but not presenting symptoms; dormant or
developing; -- of disease, especially infectious diseases;
as, the latent phase of an infection.
Latent buds (Bot.), buds which remain undeveloped or
dormant for a long time, but may eventually grow.
Latent heat (Physics), that quantity of heat which
disappears or becomes concealed in a body while producing
some change in it other than rise of temperature, as
fusion, evaporation, or expansion, the quantity being
constant for each particular body and for each species of
change; the amount of heat required to produce a change of
(a) (Med.) The regular time in which a disease is supposed
to be existing without manifesting itself.
(b) (Physiol.) One of the phases in a simple muscular
contraction, in which invisible preparatory changes
are taking place in the nerve and muscle.
(c) (Biol.) One of those periods or resting stages in the
development of the ovum, in which development is
arrested prior to renewed activity.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
adj 1: potentially existing but not presently evident or
realized; "a latent fingerprint"; "latent talent"
2: (pathology) not presently active; "latent infection"; "latent
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
145 Moby Thesaurus words for "latent":
abeyant, abstruse, apathetic, arcane, beclouded,
behind the curtain, behind the scenes, between the lines, blind,
buried, cabalistic, camouflaged, cataleptic, catatonic, censored,
classified, close, closed, clouded, concealed, covered, covert,
cryptic, dark, dead, delitescent, disguised, dopey, dormant, dull,
eclipsed, enigmatic, esoteric, flat, foul, groggy, heavy, hermetic,
hibernating, hid, hidden, hush-hush, idle, immature, imperceptible,
in a cloud, in a fog, in abeyance, in eclipse, in purdah,
in suspense, in the wings, inactive, incommunicado, indiscernible,
inert, insensible, invisible, languid, languorous, leaden,
lifeless, logy, lurking, muffled, mysterious, mystic, obfuscated,
obscure, obscured, occult, out of sight, passive, phlegmatic,
possible, potential, quiescent, recondite, restricted, secluded,
secluse, secret, sedentary, sequestered, sightless, slack,
sleeping, sluggish, slumbering, smoldering, smothered, stagnant,
standing, static, stifled, submerged, suppressed, suspended, tame,
top secret, torpid, ulterior, unapparent, unaroused, unbeheld,
unbeholdable, unbreatheable, under an eclipse, under cover,
under house arrest, under security, under the surface, under wraps,
underground, underlying, undiscernible, undisclosable, undisclosed,
undivulgable, undivulged, unknown, unmanifested, unmatured,
unnoticed, unobserved, unperceivable, unperceived, unrealized,
unrevealable, unrevealed, unripe, unseeable, unseen, unspoken,
untellable, untold, unutterable, unuttered, unviewed,
unwhisperable, unwitnessed, veiled, viewless, virtual,
wrapped in clouds
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
LATENT, construction. That which is concealed; or which does not appear; for
example, if a testator bequeaths to his cousin Peter his white horse; and at
the time of making his will and at his death he had two cousins named Peter,
and he owned two white horses, the ambiguity in this case would be latent,
both as respects the legatee, and the thing bequeathed. Vide Bac. Max. Reg.
23, and article Ambiguity. A latent ambiguity can only be made to appear by
parol evidence, and may be explained by the same kind of proof. 5 Co. 69.