Definition of latent
: present and capable of emerging or developing but not now visible, obvious, active, or symptomatic a latent infection
Examples of latent in a Sentence
On the ground in Afghanistan there is some latent, if wary, gratitude for American aid over the years, but no one expects to build a foundation for the Taliban's downfall on a couple of million rice cakes. —Michael Duffy, Time, 15 Oct. 2001
There were such inexhaustible possibilities still before her, such opportunities to bring out the latent graces of the old place, without a single irreverent touch of alteration, that the winter months were all too short to plan what spring and autumn executed. —Edith Wharton, Afterward, 1910
Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. —Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850
he has a latent talent for acting that he hasn't had a chance to express yet
Recent Examples of latent from the Web
Ace presented documents from the 1980s when RMWD was given latent powers of the fire protection district following the dissolution of the town’s volunteer fire district.
But the verdict on Lula could prove divisive, reviving the latent, visceral hostility between the ex-president’s sizable loyal following and his many vocal detractors.
Although SIDS deaths are sudden, a latent vulnerability may be present for days or months prior to death, the researchers of the PNAS study wrote, and may even originate during gestation.
These are usually latent, but can become activated and cause infection.
The latent Humberts among us might like those budding hard bodies on the tube, but there seems to be a cost in ceding the cultural landscape to the wrinkle-free.
Many Chinese also see Confucian values in her decision to convert to Judaism for her husband and in her filial defense of her father, despite his latent misogyny.
Latent conflicts between different priorities for the park have not been brought to the surface and thrashed out.
With all of that latent demand in the area, Meritage already has numbers of sales in Sterling Ranch, even though the showhomes have been completed for only a week.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'latent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of latent
Middle English, from Latin latent-, latens, from present participle of latēre to lie hidden; akin to Greek lanthanein to escape notice
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of latent
LATENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of latent for English Language Learners
—used to describe something (such as a disease) that exists but is not active or cannot be seen
LATENT Defined for Kids
Definition of latent for Students
: present but not visible or active a latent infection
Medical Definition of latent
: existing in hidden or dormant form: asa: present or capable of living or developing in a host without producing visible symptoms of disease a latent virus a latent infectionb: not consciously expressed latent anxietyc: relating to or being the latent content of a dream or thought
Seen and Heard
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