verb (1)
\ˈlach \
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

Some babies just have a hard time latching onto the breast, Spatz says. Korin Miller, SELF, "'Good Bones' Star Mina Starsiak Says Breastfeeding Directly Was 'Not in the Cards'," 6 Sep. 2018 The plan is for the small spacecraft to latch on a rocket from Elon Musk's SpaceX company from the Florida launch point in December. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Israel plans mission to the moon using smallest spacecraft to ever make the journey," 11 July 2018 My eyes had instinctively — hungrily — latched onto those animals, and nothing makes me feel as worthwhile as delivering good meat to good people. Seth Kantner, Anchorage Daily News, "Moments of truth: Spring on the Kobuk," 28 Apr. 2018 Substitute Iago Aspas made it five, latching onto a long pass downfield from David de Gea, only for Isco to score his third, and Spain's sixth, with 16 minutes left. Tom Allnut,, "Isco nets hat-trick as Spain hit Argentina for six," 27 Mar. 2018 May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and bless you evermore! Leada Gore,, "St. Patrick's Day 2018: Best Irish blessings, quotes, inspiration," 17 Mar. 2018 That article was about how a new generation had latched on to the former Doors singer who had died a decade earlier of an overdose at age 27 and how the marketing of dead pop stars could be a lucrative business. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "He's been dead for 30 years. But he's coming in concert to South Florida," 10 July 2018 Bjarnason then latches on to it and shoots it just wide. Rory Smith, New York Times, "World Cup: Iceland Ties Argentina, but You Can Call It a Victory," 17 June 2018 Often, Trump latches onto conspiracy theories or lines of attack that he’s seen on Fox News or been fed in late-night conversation with his friends, including Fox News host Sean Hannity. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Donald Trump’s Campaign to Discredit the Russia Investigation May Be Working. It’s Also Damaging American Democracy," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Inside, pregnant women and new moms relaxed into pastel poufs; three-week-old babies suckled not far from a two-year-old; a lactation coach suggested alternate positions for a better latch. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Breastfeeding Movement Is Experiencing a Tech Revolution—Here's How It's Helping New Moms," 11 Sep. 2018 Last October, Ford recalled 1.3 million F-Series trucks to fix faulty door latches, resulting in a $267 million hit to the bottom line. Allison Prang, WSJ, "Ford Recalls Two Million Trucks After Reports of Seat-Belt Malfunction," 6 Sep. 2018 Make sure the latches sit at least 54 inches above the bottom of the gate. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Bode and Morgan Miller Open Up About Their Daughter’s Drowning Accident in New Interview," 30 July 2018 This Canadian band makes art rock for former latch-key kids and is known for its kinetic live show. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse top 2018 Forecastle Festival lineup," 17 Jan. 2018 The little girl, whose bedroom was adjacent to the entryway, slightly opened the door but the top latch was still secure., "Girl, 4, Snatched from Her Front Door as Her Parents Slept: 'A Monster Took Me'," 15 June 2018 The best bet is installing self-closing and self-latching gates that open away from the pool area with latches beyond a child’s reach, the clinic said. Gina Martinez, Time, "Drowning Is the No. 2 Cause of Death for Young Children. Here's How to Keep Your Kids Safe Around Pools," 13 June 2018 Sliding them back into position also requires pulling the latch, which might be a struggle for younger grade schoolers. Robert Duffer,, "2018 Volkswagen Atlas carries 3-row SUV class on its shoulders," 16 Jan. 2018 The frozen research material appears to have been pushed out of the transport container, after the latch failed, due to pressure from a secondary interior container holding dry ice, Willis said. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "Tuberculosis spilled at Hopkins because latch failed," 7 July 2018

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

12 Nov 2018

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

: 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 \

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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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).


a private place of worship

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