Definition of latent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlātnt/


1(Of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed: discovering her latent talent for diplomacy
More example sentences
  • By the twentieth century the investigations of cognitive psychology had established creativity as a latent quality in every person, applicable to any field of human endeavour.
  • If you'll excuse me, I have to go tell my wife and children about my latent homosexual qualities and accompanying gender confusion.
  • This would release humankind from the drudgery of wage-slavery and release the latent talents of 3 billion people.
1.1 Biology (Of a bud, resting stage, etc.) lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for development or manifestation.
Example sentences
  • Cell proliferation and cell fate are controlled from dividing cell division centres (called meristems) or latent pluripotent stem cells within the cambium or pericycle.
  • In grapevine, the current season's growth consists of shoots growing from latent buds produced during the previous cycle and made up of five to nine phytomers.
  • In spring, when the plant is removed from winter storage, one to three branches will grow from the latent buds beneath the cuts.
1.2(Of a disease) in which the usual symptoms are not yet manifest.
Example sentences
  • Elimination of tuberculosis in industrialized nations hinges on diagnosis and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection to prevent disease.
  • Before initiating treatment of latent tuberculosis infection, physicians must ensure that active disease is not present.
  • Very little is known regarding the usefulness of pyrazinamide and levofloxacin in the treatment of multidrug-resistant latent tuberculosis infection.
1.3(Of a microorganism, especially a virus) present in the body without causing disease, but capable of doing so at a later stage or when transmitted to another body.
Example sentences
  • First, they stimulated the T-cells strongly enough to prompt the cell to express latent virus but not to trigger other cellular functions.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus occurs when reactivation of the latent virus in the trigeminal ganglia involves the ophthalmic division of the nerve.
  • Herpes zoster results from reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus infection.



Example sentences
  • Each Loss Leader is divinely packaged, having been designed at no little expense by our latently talented art department.
  • The authors conclude that continuous exposure to varicella virus through community contacts protects latently infected adults from developing clinical shingles.
  • A person may remain latently infected and harbor the bacteria, in a non-growing or slow-growing form, for decades with no symptoms.


Late Middle English: from Latin latent- 'being hidden', from the verb latere.

  • The word latent comes from Latin latere ‘be hidden’.

Words that rhyme with latent


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: la·tent

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