La"tent (?), a. [L. latens, -entis, p. pr. of latere to lie hid or concealed; cf. Gr. , E. lethargy: cf. F.latent.]
Not visible or apparent; hidden; springs of action.
The evils latent in the most promising contrivances are provided for as they arise.
Latent buds bot., buds which remain undeveloped or dormant for a long time, but may at length 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. -- 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.
© Webster 1913.