AskDefine | Define latency

Dictionary Definition



1 (computer science) the time it takes for a specific block of data on a data track to rotate around to the read/write head [syn: rotational latency]
2 the time that elapses between a stimulus and the response to it [syn: reaction time, response time, latent period]
3 the state of being not yet evident or active

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A delay, a period between the initiation of something and the occurrence.


  • Czech: latence, zpoždění
  • Finnish: latenssi, viive
  • Italian: latenza
  • Japanese: レイテンシ
  • Romanian: latenţă

Extensive Definition

Latent can mean "hidden", "presently inactive" or "potentially existing but not yet realized". In specific contexts, it can mean:
  • Latent heat, the amount of energy released or absorbed by a substance during a change of phase
  • Latent geologic fault
  • Latent medical condition, a condition that is present but not active or causing symptoms.
  • Latent bud, in some plants a bud that grows in favourable conditions but remains a bud until such conditions appear.
  • Virus latency, the "quiet" or dormant stage of life of a virus, when it does little but maintain its genome, until favourable conditions for the lytic phase appear, when it starts to replicate.
  • Latent fingerprint, the identifiable impression made by a finger, which is not immediately available (for example, because it is on a difficult surface such as skin) but can be made available ("developed") using some appropriate technique.
  • Latent Recordings, a record label
  • Latent variable
Latency can mean:
  • Latency (engineering), a time delay between the moment something is initiated and the moment its first effect begins.
  • Latency (audio), the time delay in digital audio systems due to analog to digital conversions, processing and conversion back to analog.
  • Memory latency and RAM latency, the amount of time a computer needs to wait to get data from RAM.
  • Input lag, the latency between using an input device and the result being displayed.
  • Communication lag or latency, the time taken for a packet of data to be sent by an application, travel and be received by another application.
  • Incubation period, the time between exposure to a pathogenic organism, or chemical or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent.
  • Latency in child sexuality, a psychoanalytic phase, extending from roughly age 7 to 12, during which sexuality is repressed or sublimated (now more commonly called "middle childhood" and "prepubescence").
  • Clinical latency
  • Dormancy
An example of a virus that is Latent in many people for long periods of time is Mononucleosis.
latency in Danish: Latent
latency in German: Latenz
latency in French: Latence
latency in Polish: Latencja

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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