Every electronic circuit is designed to operate off of some supply voltage, which is usually assumed to be constant. A voltage regulator provides this constant DC output voltage and contains circuitry that continuously holds the output voltage at the design value regardless of changes in load current or input voltage (this assumes that the load current and input voltage are within the specified operating range for the part).
Another characteristic of any linear regulator is that it requires a finite amount of time to "correct" the output voltage after a change in load current demand. This "time lag" defines the characteristic called transient response, which is a measure of how fast the regulator returns to steady-state conditions after a load change.
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