Latent Definition

Present but invisible or inactive; lying hidden and undeveloped within a person or thing, as a quality, power, or talent.
Webster's New World
Present or potential but not evident or active.
Latent talent.
American Heritage
Present but not symptomatic.
A latent virus.
American Heritage Medicine
Dormant but capable of normal development under the best conditions.
Webster's New World
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.
American Heritage Medicine
A fingerprint that is not apparent to the eye but can be made sufficiently visible, as by dusting or fuming, for use in identification.
American Heritage
A fingerprint found on an object as at the scene of a crime.
Webster's New World

Origin of Latent

  • Middle English from Old French from Latin latēns latent- present participle of latēre to lie hidden

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin latens, latentis, present participle of lateo (“lie hidden").

    From Wiktionary


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