from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state or quality of being latent.
  • n. Psychology The latency period.
  • n. A latent period.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being latent.
  • n. A delay, a period between the initiation of something and the occurrence.
  • n. The delay between a stimulus and the response it triggers in an organism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or quality of being latent.
  • n. The time between a stimulus the appearance of the response; the time between any causal action and the first appearance of the effect. Called also latent period.
  • n. The time between exposure to a carcinogen or other disease-causing agent and the appearance of the consequent disease.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being latent or concealed; unobserved or undeveloped existence.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the time that elapses between a stimulus and the response to it
  • n. (computer science) the time it takes for a specific block of data on a data track to rotate around to the read/write head
  • n. the state of being not yet evident or active


latent +‎ -cy (Wiktionary)



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  • In regard to virtual reality productions, "latency" refers to the disorienting lag that users feel when turning theirs heads and the visuals don't quite keep up. This latency results from the mismatch between the motion one feels (with his/her inner ear) and the image one sees (with eyes).

    October 11, 2016

  • Que?

    July 9, 2008

  • "The state of being not yet evident or active"

    August 13, 2007

  • I think your completely wrong. Any given operation across a network has a latency, but overall, a period of unusually high latencies can be abbreviated as lag. If you can come up with a one syllable (or even two) way to say this better, I'll take it.

    June 22, 2007

  • I find it really frustrating when people talk about "network lag," since "latency" is such a great word for it. When people people say they have "network lag" I often wonder if they also have "brain lag."

    June 21, 2007