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Latency or latent may refer to:

Science and technology[edit]

  • Latent heat, energy released or absorbed, by a body or a thermodynamic system, during a constant-temperature process
  • Latent variable, a variable that is not directly observed but inferred in statistics

Biology and medicine[edit]

  • Latency period or latent period, the time between exposure to a pathogen, chemical or radiation, and when symptoms first become apparent
  • Sleep onset latency, the time it takes a person to fall asleep
  • Virus latency, the ability of a virus to remain dormant


  • Latency (engineering), a measure of the time delay experienced by a system
    • Latency (audio), the delay necessitated by the conversion between analog and digital representations of sound data
    • CAS latency, computer memory latency
    • Network latency or network delay, a measure of the time delay required for information to travel across a network
    • Rotational latency, the delay waiting for the rotation of the disk to bring the required disk sector under the read-write head

Other uses[edit]

  • Latency stage, a term coined by Sigmund Freud for a stage in a child's psychosexual development
  • Latent Recordings, an independent Canadian record label
  • Nuclear latency, the condition of a country capable of developing nuclear weapons but not yet possessing them