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

My lactation consultant told me to keep going at the pump while simultaneously trying to get my son to latch. E.j. Dickson, Vox, "Inside the mommy-friendly, scientifically sketchy world of breastfeeding supplements," 20 Dec. 2018 The visitors had one last chance before the final whistle when Zapata latched onto Howedes' attempted header back to Buffon, but his shot from just yards out was straight at the keeper from a tight angle on the left., "Juventus 3-0 Sampdoria: I Bianconeri Strengthen Grip on Serie A Title With Comfortable Victory," 15 Apr. 2018 But the book has always had a rabid fan base, even when Gomez latched on to the project in 2009. Lauren Hoffman, Cosmopolitan, "Selena Gomez Got Too Famous to Play Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why," 25 Apr. 2017 Mostly through friends who were still trying to figure it out, and who had latched onto toxic stereotypes. Thomas Page Mcbee, Teen Vogue, "Kendrick Sampson on Masculinity, Race, and Why Men Should Be More Vulnerable," 26 Mar. 2019 The researchers targeted a gene called CCR5, which encodes an immune system protein that the HIV virus latches onto in order to enter cells. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Reports out of China suggest first human gene-edited babies have been born," 26 Nov. 2018 People always told me to latch on to the things in my life and parts of myself that were unrelated to the eating disorder. Seventeen Magazine, Seventeen, "How To Help A Friend Who Has An Eating Disorder," 28 Feb. 2012 Stella McCartney is the latest figure to latch on to Pip's rising star. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Glenn Close and Her Dog Pip Just Did a Photo Shoot for Stella McCartney," 7 Mar. 2019 When the entity escapes and latches itself to Tilly's arm, things get much more dire. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Is All About Friendship and Death This Week," 8 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Once past a second gate (with a stubborn barbed wire latch) the trail emerges on the summit ridge for a short, flat walk to the high point. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "You'll probably have the summit to yourself on this shady summer hike," 7 June 2019 The low-profile latches were incredibly easy to open. Joe Jackson, Outside Online, "The Best Waterproof Gear Cases, Tested," 11 June 2018 Neither means of access is very convenient: the roll top requires two hands to manipulate the latch and then unroll all the material, while access via the TIZIP requires one hand to grasp the bag firmly while the other yanks the TIZIP open. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "‘The world’s most versatile waterproof backpack’ review," 20 Nov. 2018 In the case of French or double doors, advises installing additional barrel bolt latches that extend into the header and floor. Fox News, "Hurricane Florence: How to prepare your home for the worst," 12 Sep. 2018 For doors with latches, levers require the least effort. Sara Bliss, WSJ, "Renovation Strategies to Live at Home—Stylishly—Into Your 80s," 23 Aug. 2018 The second-row seats slide forward by a latch on the top of the seat. Robert Duffer,, "2018 Volkswagen Atlas carries 3-row SUV class on its shoulders," 16 Jan. 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

9 Jul 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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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