- An example of latent is an ability to swim that will become clear with a first lesson.
- An example of latent is a psychological tendency that you are not fully aware of.
- An example of latent are fingerprints which cannot be seen.
The definition of latent is something present but invisible or hidden.
- present but invisible or inactive; lying hidden and undeveloped within a person or thing, as a quality, power, or talent
- Biol. dormant but capable of normal development under the best conditions: said of buds, spores, cocoons, etc.
- Psychol. unconsciously but not actively so: a latent homosexual
Origin of latentClassical Latin latens, present participle of latere, to lie hidden, lurk from Indo-European an unverified form l?idh- from base an unverified form l?-, to be hidden from source Old Norse l?mr, deception, Classical Greek l?th?, forgetfulness, lanthanein, to be hidden
a fingerprint found on an object as at the scene of a crime
- Present or potential but not evident or active: latent talent. See Synonyms at inactive.
- Medicine Present but not symptomatic: a latent virus.
- Biology Being in a condition of biological rest or inactivity characterized by cessation of growth or development and the suspension of many metabolic processes: a latent bud.
- Psychology Present and accessible in the unconscious mind but not consciously expressed.
A fingerprint that is not apparent to the eye but can be made sufficiently visible, as by dusting or fuming, for use in identification.
Origin of latentMiddle English from Old French from Latin latēns latent- present participle of latēre to lie hidden
latent dormant quiescent
These adjectives mean present or in existence but not active or manifest. What is latent is present but not evident: latent ability. Dormant evokes the idea of sleep: a dormant volcano. Quiescent sometimes—but not always—suggests temporary inactivity: “For a time, he [the whale] lay quiescent” (Herman Melville).
From Latin latens, latentis, present participle of lateo (“lie hidden").