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dormant (adj) (talent, energy, etc.) inactive now but likely to be active later.

The dormant talents of a person are talents which are there in them, but which, inactive now, may show up later. A dormant volcano is a volcano which appears safe at present but which may explode any moment. The dormant powers in a person are powers unnoticed now, but may be seen later. 'His poetic talent dormant all through his youth expressed itself in the splendid poems that he composed in his middle age.' This means that his poetic talent was not realized by him or others in his youth, but began to appear in his middle age. Viruses lying dormant become active in favorable conditions; that is, the hitherto inactive viruses begin to trouble the person when their resistance is low.

  • His powers of public speaking had obviously been dormant. For until he began making his very effective speeches none had thought he had the talent.
  • Scientific thinking lay dormant in Newton until the apple fell on him. None could have thought that he had it in him till he discovered the law of gravitation.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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