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 New iPhones have a magnet built into the back that is designed to allow chargers and cases to latch on, and MagSafe iPhones also have built-in sensors to detect what kind of accessory is being connected and communicate with it via NFC. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple’s MagSafe Duo charger finally shows up in online stores," 2 Dec. 2020 Instead, the best way to outperform in the past decade was to latch on to large, disruptive-tech stocks. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Missed Tesla’s 12,551% Rise? Don’t Feel So Bad," 10 Dec. 2020 Another: to latch onto their faith and God more than ever. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, "Chase and Sadie: Their love story was supposed to have ended; it hasn't," 3 Dec. 2020 The vaccines take advantage of this process by injecting mRNA into muscle cells in the upper arm, which are instructed to manufacture just a piece of the coronavirus — the outside spike proteins, which the virus uses to latch onto cells. TheWeek, "The vaccine breakthrough," 29 Nov. 2020 Some antibodies latch onto the virus, but won’t stop its spread. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Paging Dr. Hamblin: Will I Slowly Get Immunity Just Going About My Life?," 18 Nov. 2020 In the end, Roethlisberger managed to latch onto Harper's leg and tripped him up at the Indianapolis 42-yard line. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "DK Metcalf had one of the all-time effort plays. Here are some notable others from NFL history," 26 Oct. 2020 That means if a real COVID-19 virus later enters the body, spikes and all, the person's immune system is trained to identify and destroy the spikes — denying the virus a chance to latch on and infect the person, Klein said. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "COVID Watch: Vaccines 'revolutionary stuff' says U of L doctor who participated in trial," 24 Nov. 2020 One approach to studying susceptibility has been to look at the genomes of animals and see which ones have a genetic sequence that codes for a protein on cells called an ACE2 receptor, which allows the virus to latch on. James Gorman, New York Times, "Covid Infections in Animals Prompt Scientific Concern," 8 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The receiver and opening latch have a lower profile for a better field of view. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Best of the Best: The Top Hunting and Fishing Gear of 2020," 20 Nov. 2020 The window wasn't locked because the latch was broken. Eileen Ng, Star Tribune, "Dad: Teen, found dead in Malaysia, couldn't survive jungle," 12 Nov. 2020 Pull back on the latch above each and then press the bolt forward or pull it back. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Christmas Tree Stands," 11 Nov. 2020 While the Power Five conferences latch onto primetime showdowns on Saturdays, the MAC pumps life into college football fans throughout the weekdays. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "2020 MAC football season: Everything to know about CMU, EMU, WMU," 12 Mar. 2020 If the doorknob has a latch bolt and its angled end faces toward you, try popping it open with a credit card. Kevin Dupzyk And Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Open a Locked Door Without the Key," 18 Nov. 2020 Slide the latch back away from the doorjamb to unlock the door. Kevin Dupzyk And Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Open a Locked Door Without the Key," 18 Nov. 2020 The latch that holds the lid on this pack in place is the most secure in the field. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The 8 Best Binocular Chest Packs, Tested," 4 Nov. 2020 This kit comes in a clear sewing case with a handle and locking latch closure and is lightweight for easy transport. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Sewing kits perfect for home, travel, and gift-giving," 1 Oct. 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

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Latch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 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
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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