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 Six minutes into the contest, a long ball over the top of the Barça defence caused a surprising number of problems, and Dzeko latched onto the pass, outmuscled Samuel Umtiti and toe-poked the ball beyond Marc-André ter Stegen with a powerful prod., "Roma 3-0 Barcelona: The Night Roma Rose From Their Ruins," 1 Nov. 2019 These typically parasitic animals latch onto the inside of the jelly for a free ride, protection and a portion of its food. Kelso Harper, Scientific American, "Undying Cells, Speedy Ants and a Deep-Sea Ghost: Science GIFs to Start Your Halloween Week," 28 Oct. 2019 Mbappe latched onto Angel Di Maria's pass for his second, before wrapping up his treble in 22 minutes when Di Maria again threaded a ball through the Brugge defense. George Ramsay, CNN, "Kylian Mbappe scores hat-trick to surpass Lionel Messi goal record," 23 Oct. 2019 Someone with a serious mental illness could indeed latch onto any piece of popular culture and twist it in support of their particular delusion. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Joker is a powerful portrayal of a troubled man’s descent into madness," 7 Oct. 2019 Mohamed Salah latched onto Roberto Firmino’s flick and cushioned a shot into the net in the 69th minute to earn titleholder Liverpool a 4-3 win over Salzburg. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Liverpool, Barcelona dig out wins in Champions League," 2 Oct. 2019 The exotic carmaker is latching on to a trend that has seen upscale entries— the Lamborghini Urus and the Rolls Royce Cullinan to name two—attract new customers to the brands with bigger models. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Aston Martin Went Public a Year Ago—and Then the Wheels Fell Off," 26 Sep. 2019 Conservative bloggers latched on to the incident as an example of alleged hypocrisy of reporters tarring people's reputations based on long-ago poor decisions. Katie Shepherd,, "Iowa reporter who found a viral star’s racist tweets slammed when critics find his own offensive posts," 25 Sep. 2019 The grasper successfully latched on to the gallbladder’s neck, and the rest of the operation went smoothly. D. T. Max, The New Yorker, "Paging Dr. Robot," 23 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The right pedal operates the brakes on the rear wheels and has a latch that can lock them for parking. Vern Parker, Houston Chronicle, "1911 Chase a symbol of family history," 16 Aug. 2019 Yet every morning before 9 a.m., a Hall employee — usually Pindar, the museum’s visitor services coordinator — lugs a frayed, wooden tray filled with magnetic numbers and opens the back latch of a display case marked: BASEBALL SCOREBOARD. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Home for the Hall of Fame, Nestled in the Past," 21 July 2019 When stowing the Rev, its stem doubles as a handle with a latch that clicks into the rear fender brake. Time, "We Rode Boosted's New Rev Electric Scooter. Here's What it's Like," 11 July 2019 The three-millimeter-long maggot bends at its middle, latches its upper body to its rear end and dilates its lower half to increase the tension on that latch. Scientific American, "Ballistic Maggots, Synthetic Winks and Why You’re Not Goop: This Week’s Best Science GIFs," 9 Aug. 2019 Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign Housekeeping comes early. Geoffrey Morrison, New York Times, "10 Hotel Tips No One Taught You," 30 July 2019 Some violations could be as simple as a gate latch that was fixed immediately. azcentral, "Search inspections for Phoenix-area pools and splash pads," 13 July 2019 The clamshell latch clamps securely closed and opens wide for easy access to the generous 30-quart capacity. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Soft Coolers for Any Outing," 25 June 2019 But these days, social media latches on to this sort of thing quickly, and even localized brands need to worry about global associations. Menachem Wecker, Washington Post, "One NRA fights for guns. One for restaurants. Yes, D.C. has abbreviation overload.," 15 July 2019

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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Statistics for latch

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for latch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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