latent

Latent \La"tent\ (l[=a]"tent), a. [L. latens, -entis, p. pr. of latere to lie hid or concealed; cf. Gr. lanqa`nein, E. lethargy: cf. F. latent.] 1. Not visible or apparent; hidden; concealed; secret; dormant; as, latent springs of action. [1913 Webster] The evils latent in the most promising contrivances are provided for as they arise. --Burke. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) Existing but not presenting symptoms; dormant or developing; -- of disease, especially infectious diseases; as, the latent phase of an infection. [PJC] {Latent buds} (Bot.), buds which remain undeveloped or dormant for a long time, but may eventually grow. {Latent heat} (Physics), that quantity of heat which disappears or becomes concealed in a body while producing some change in it other than rise of temperature, as fusion, evaporation, or expansion, the quantity being constant for each particular body and for each species of change; the amount of heat required to produce a change of phase. {Latent period}. (a) (Med.) The regular time in which a disease is supposed to be existing without manifesting itself. (b) (Physiol.) One of the phases in a simple muscular contraction, in which invisible preparatory changes are taking place in the nerve and muscle. (c) (Biol.) One of those periods or resting stages in the development of the ovum, in which development is arrested prior to renewed activity. [1913 Webster]