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

Noun He lifted the latch and opened the gate. I heard her key turn in the latch.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lai takes advantage of new techniques that allow researchers to edit proteins and give them more adhesive binding sites that latch on tightly to proteins on the outside of the sperm. Sara Harrison, Wired, 30 Aug. 2021 Each satellite is equipped with a magnetic docking plate so that the chaser can latch onto its target. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Aug. 2021 Although a few songs take a good bit of time to start to cook, and a few of the others seem disinterested in cooking at all, there are always fascinating textures to latch into in this music. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 20 Aug. 2021 Pumera envisions releasing future iterations of the bots into the sea to latch onto microplastics, then collecting the bots for reuse. Scott Hershberger, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 The idea is that female plants will latch onto it and produce nonviable seeds. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 Yet, one of the top recruits in the country stayed and prospered when most would latch onto another top program befitting his talent. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, 9 Aug. 2021 My daughter would not latch, so [another KD sister] drove to my house and taught me how. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 6 Aug. 2021 Reared in the canonically joyless Mancunian suburb of Salford, any Fall biography (and there are lots of them) will latch onto several footholds to help scale the tower of the thunderously crotchety Smith. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The trunk latch may become damaged, preventing the opening of the trunk from the inside. Detroit Free Press, 21 Aug. 2021 The large, stainless steel locking latch keeps a smoke-tight seal. Chris Hachey, BGR, 11 June 2021 Its flexible yet structured shape bears resemblance to the medicine bags traveling physicians use, featuring rounded edges, a zipper closure, and a magnetic latch strap to keep your essentials secure. Alex Warner,, 13 Aug. 2021 Plus, the tailgate can remain open halfway, supported by its cables and a set of latch pins. Will Egensteiner, Popular Mechanics, 9 June 2021 The secure latch also ensures that your dog won't be able to sneak out of the crate, and the aluminum and plastic design is made to prevent any harmful pinching or pricking. Andrea Marie,, 28 June 2021 The latch has an adjustable backset of 2 to 3/8″ or 2 to 3/4″ to fit a standard door. Chris Hachey, BGR, 10 June 2021 The door has an adjustable latch and viewing window. Chris Hachey, BGR, 11 June 2021 Pressure on the latch will force it to retract, and the knob should turn and open the door. Kevin Dupzyk And Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for latch

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near latch



latch bolt

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Statistics for latch

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Latch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on latch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for latch

Nglish: Translation of latch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of latch for Arabic Speakers


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