Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "latent" []

  • Present or potential but not evident or active: latent talent. (adjective)
  • Pathology In a dormant or hidden stage: a latent infection. (adjective)
  • Biology Undeveloped but capable of normal growth under the proper conditions: a latent bud. (adjective)
  • Psychology Present and accessible in the unconscious mind but not consciously expressed. (adjective)
  • A fingerprint that is not apparent to the eye but can be made sufficiently visible, as by dusting or fuming, for use in identification. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "latent" in a sentence
  • "Energy used for evapotranspiration is generally referred to as latent heat flux; however, the term latent heat flux is broad, and includes other related processes unrelated to transpiration including condensation (e.g., fog, dew), and snow and ice sublimation."
  • "Some persons do not like the term latent energy, and speak of energy which is not in action as possible or potential."
  • "The term latent typically refers to something that is dormant, not observable, or not yet realized."