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 ontolatched 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 Now, nine months after the operation, the onetime Gilman star is recovered, working out and expecting to soon be cleared in a bid to latch on with another NFL team. Glenn Graham,, "After successful open heart surgery, ‘unbreakable’ Cyrus Jones focused on a return to the NFL," 10 Sep. 2020 This protein, called spike, is what the coronavirus uses to latch on to and enter cells. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Team behind the Russian vaccine publishes some details of early trials," 5 Sep. 2020 For closed compartments such as the glovebox or center console, the enclosure must be able to latch closed with no resistance from the ping-pong balls. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "Everything You Need to Know about Our Comprehensive Car Testing," 21 Aug. 2020 Or maybe those antibodies are not perfectly adept at plugging up the proteins the virus uses to latch onto a cell. Megan Molteni, Wired, "The First Repeat Covid-19 Infection Case Isn't All Bad News," 25 Aug. 2020 These simply test whether antibodies produced by a vaccine can latch on to the spike protein SARS-CoV-2 has on its surface. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Scientists to Wall Street: You don’t really understand how COVID vaccine tests work," 24 Aug. 2020 Then, antibodies can latch onto the virus and prevent them from binding and entering other healthy cells. Peter Fimrite,, "T cells, the body’s antiviral snipers, look promising for a coronavirus vaccine," 23 Aug. 2020 If those sequences are present, tiny fragments of synthetic DNA—called primers—latch onto the SARS-CoV-2 code and direct enzymes to make copies of that stretch of DNA. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "COVID spit test is faster, cheaper, avoids shortages—and now greenlit by FDA," 18 Aug. 2020 The study included a range of species, four which attach to their mates temporarily, three that don’t latch on at all, and six that permanently attach to their mates. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Anglerfish Drop Their Immune Defenses to Find Love," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The heavy doors latch shut electrically, firmly enclosing passengers and their parcels inside the car. Martin Padgett Jr., Car and Driver, "Tested: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL Delivers Unparalleled Excess," 16 Sep. 2020 Sometimes, multiple parasites latch on the tongue, resulting in the host fish to be underweight due to a lack of feeding. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "A parasite feasts on a fish's tongue until it's gone. Don't worry, humans can't get it.," 15 Aug. 2020 Features include a single door, a slide-bolt latch, and rollers to protect your floor. Popular Science, "The best crates for your dog," 7 Aug. 2020 Jones allegedly told police this was not the first time Delilah managed to exit the apartment on her own, citing a faulty door latch. Chris Harris,, "Az. Woman Arrested After Daughter, 3, Climbs into Hot Car and Dies While Mom's Allegedly Asleep," 1 Sep. 2020 Video of the incident shared with the outlet shows the employee interacting with Roche in the outdoor patio area of the bar before Roche gets up and shoves the employee into the bar’s door frame, allegedly causing damage to a latch in the process. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Colorado bar employee is violently shoved after reminding customer to wear mask," 28 Aug. 2020 There is no federal requirement that says an electronic door latch needs to have a backup mechanical release for the outside or inside of a door, but nearly every automaker provides one. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "The Latest Porsche 911's Electronic Door Latches Are Tech for Tech's Sake," 22 Aug. 2020 Three of the children managed to unlock a safety latch, giving them access to the backyard pool, where all three went for a swim. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, "Distracted parents, closed public pools causing surge in backyard pool drownings," 13 Aug. 2020 The drop-proof design and sturdy latch don’t prevent kids from sending the box flying to the floor, but do minimize messes and help the box withstand repeated heavy use. Popular Science, "Multi-compartment, bento-style boxes for an ideal packed lunch," 10 June 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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Statistics for latch

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Latch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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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