verb (1)
\ ˈlach How to pronounce latch (audio) \
latched; latching; latches

Definition of latch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to lay hold with or as if with the hands or arms used with on or onto
2 : to associate oneself intimately and often artfully used with on or onto latched onto a rich widow



Definition of latch (Entry 2 of 3)

: any of various devices in which mating mechanical parts engage to fasten but usually not to lock something:
a : a fastener (as for a door) consisting essentially of a pivoted bar that falls into a notch
b : a fastener (as for a door) in which a spring slides a bolt into a hole also : night latch


verb (2)
latched; latching; latches

Definition of latch (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make fast with or as if with a latch

Examples of latch in a Sentence


He lifted the latch and opened the gate. I heard her key turn in the latch.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His first goal was a composed finish in the area, latching onto a Kevin de Bruyne through ball, and his second was a wonderful curling effort, which floated effortlessly into the top corner of the Brighton net., "Clinical Sergio Aguero Boasts Impressive Scoring Streak as Manchester City Cruise Past Brighton," 31 Aug. 2019 Egan and others latched onto my National Review article exploring, somewhat academically, the Western debate over federal lands. William Perry Pendley, The Denver Post, "William Perry Pendley: Rebutting a popular myth about my position on public lands," 30 Aug. 2019 Still, opponents of PG&E’s bond plan quickly latched onto the company’s plan to increase its shareholder rate of return. J.d. Morris,, "PG&E wants to gradually add $30 per month to the average residential bill," 26 Aug. 2019 Worldwide media attention latched onto the fires after INPE's release, bringing much needed attention to the larger issue. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "Amazon Fires: What’s Really Happening and How You Can Help," 22 Aug. 2019 The immigrant in me longs for positive reminders of home, but the writer in me latches on to complexities. Rigoberto González, Los Angeles Times, "Migration is a human condition -- for the people of the Americas, movement is propelled by survival," 31 July 2019 Reporters latched onto both men because their showmanship made for good copy. Sharon Marcus, Time, "Even the Internet Hasn’t Really Changed How Being Famous Works. Here’s Why," 25 June 2019 Britain could latch on to the coat-tails of fast-growing emerging markets. The Economist, "What makes Boris Johnson’s favourite economist tick?," 1 Aug. 2019 The posts are often quickly amplified by local news, which latch onto the story of a pedophile in the community. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "There’s a global movement of Facebook vigilantes who hunt pedophiles," 24 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The three-millimeter-long maggot bends at its middle, latches its upper body to its rear end and dilates its lower half to increase the tension on that latch. Scientific American, "Ballistic Maggots, Synthetic Winks and Why You’re Not Goop: This Week’s Best Science GIFs," 9 Aug. 2019 Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign Housekeeping comes early. Geoffrey Morrison, New York Times, "10 Hotel Tips No One Taught You," 30 July 2019 Some violations could be as simple as a gate latch that was fixed immediately. azcentral, "Search inspections for Phoenix-area pools and splash pads," 13 July 2019 The clamshell latch clamps securely closed and opens wide for easy access to the generous 30-quart capacity. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Soft Coolers for Any Outing," 25 June 2019 But these days, social media latches on to this sort of thing quickly, and even localized brands need to worry about global associations. Menachem Wecker, Washington Post, "One NRA fights for guns. One for restaurants. Yes, D.C. has abbreviation overload.," 15 July 2019 And with that, Spyke crimped the latch on the eagle’s cage and opened it up. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "This lead-poisoned eagle miraculously recovered. Most aren’t so lucky," 26 June 2019 Rules now dictate tire integrity, roof strength, door latches, steering wheels, knee bolsters, bumpers, lights, seats, safety belts and shoulder straps, air bags, and window tinting. Dan Albert, Vox, "Driverless cars are coming. We’ll miss the thrill of the ride.," 21 June 2019 On a routine check of the stairwell, Wills found that the door latches had been taped again. Keith Sharon, The Mercury News, "The man who stayed late: The Watergate story you’ve never heard," 17 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'latch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of latch

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for latch

Verb (1)

Middle English lachen, from Old English læccan; perhaps akin to Greek lambanein to take, seize

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Learn More about latch

Dictionary Entries near latch

latania scale




latch bolt



Statistics for latch

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for latch

The first known use of latch was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for latch



English Language Learners Definition of latch

: a device that holds a door, gate, or window closed and that consists of a bar that falls into a holder when it is closed and that is lifted when it is open
chiefly British : a type of door lock that can be opened from the inside by turning a lever or knob but can only be opened from the outside with a key


\ ˈlach How to pronounce latch (audio) \

Kids Definition of latch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a movable piece that holds a door, gate, or window closed


latched; latching

Kids Definition of latch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to close or fasten with a latch

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More from Merriam-Webster on latch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with latch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for latch

Spanish Central: Translation of latch

Nglish: Translation of latch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of latch for Arabic Speakers

Comments on latch

What made you want to look up latch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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