latency

noun la·ten·cy \ ˈlā-tᵊn(t)-sē \

Definition of latency

plural latencies
1 :the quality or state of being latent :dormancy
  • latency is a characteristic common to all members of the troublesome herpes family
  • —Claudia Wallis
2 :something latent
  • writers who know how to evoke these latencies
  • —E. C. Lindeman
3 :a stage of psychosexual (see psychosexual 1) development following the phallic (see phallic 3) stage that extends from about the age of five or six to the beginning of puberty and during which sexual urges often appear to lie dormant

Examples of latency in a Sentence

  1. the flower bulbs went from latency to full bloom in a matter of days

Recent Examples of latency from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'latency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of latency

1615


Medical Dictionary

latency

noun la·ten·cy \ ˈlāt-ᵊn-sē \

medical Definition of latency

plural latencies
1 or latency period or latent period
a :the quality or state of being latent; especially :the state or period of living or developing in a host without producing symptoms
  • The cellular mechanisms by which viral latency is maintained or viral replication is induced is not known.
  • Science20 June 1986
  • During this nonreplicating latent period, the virus' home is believed to be the ganglia of nerves serving the area where the herpes lesion initially appeared.
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association11 Nov. 1983
b :the time or period between exposure to a disease-causing agent or process and the onset of symptoms or disease
  • In the worst cases, chronic active hepatitis develops and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and finally to hepatocellular carcinoma. … Usually the cancer does not develop until after a 30- to 50- year latency period
  • —Peter Tiollais and Marie-Annick BuenidiaScientific AmericanApril 1991
2 usually latency period or latency stage :a stage of psychosexual development that follows the phallic stage and precedes the genital stage, extends from about the age of five or six to the beginning of puberty, and during which sexual urges often appear to lie dormant
3 or latent period :the time interval between application of a stimulus and the beginning of an identifiable response (such as muscle contraction) :reaction time


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