American Dictionary of the English Language

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LA'TENT, adjective [Latin latens, lateo; Gr; Heb. to cover.]

Hid; concealed; secret; not seen; not visible or apparent. We speak of latent motives; latent reasons; latent springs of action.

Latent heat, is heat in combination, in distinction from sensible heat; the portion of heat which disappears, when a body changes its form from the solid to the fluid, or from the fluid to the aeriform state.