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 The report will be latched onto by critics of austerity and the Conservative government. Fergal O'brien,, "U.K. Life Expectancy Stalls for the First Time Since the 1800s," 5 May 2020 The spike latches onto one of many receptors affixed to the outer membrane of our cells, effectively unlocking them. Andrew Zaleski, Popular Mechanics, "So When Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Be Available?," 29 Apr. 2020 But throughout True History, Kurzel latches onto a very different kind of armor the outlaw and his gang wear during their most infamous exploits: namely, women’s clothing. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ director, stars on their hypnotic outlaw saga," 23 Apr. 2020 Others, too, latched onto the idea of millennials (and not, say, federal and state governments) as somehow uniquely indifferent to the pandemic. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Generational Warfare in a Pandemic," 22 Apr. 2020 The virus can latch onto ACE2 and sneak inside, replicating itself inside the cell and then wreaking havoc throughout the body. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "The coronavirus sneaks into cells through a key receptor. Could targeting it lead to a treatment?," 10 Apr. 2020 Chinese officials latched on to Mr. Romanoff’s essay as an alternative version of how the outbreak began. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "Canadian Writer Fuels China-U.S. Tiff Over Coronavirus’s Origins," 26 Mar. 2020 Shook latched on to Fuehring and Hines-Allen, who graduated in 2018. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville women's basketball seniors have impacted program without an All-American," 29 Feb. 2020 The new virus enters the cells of people who are infected by latching onto the ACE2 receptor on cell surfaces. Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus destroys lungs. But doctors are finding its damage in kidneys, hearts and elsewhere.," 16 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The infection begins when the long spike proteins that protrude from the virus particle latch on to the cell’s ACE2 protein. Benjamin Neuman, The Conversation, "What the coronavirus does to your body that makes it so deadly," 2 Apr. 2020 Fingernail-sized latches on the docking probe used to connect the command module to the lunar module failed to catch, and the two spacecraft were unable to dock. Frank O’brien, Ars Technica, "A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack that saved Apollo 14," 30 Jan. 2020 On day 1, recover from birth and master your latch. New York Times, "How to Breastfeed During the First 2 Weeks of Life," 18 Apr. 2020 Even with a cacophony of impacts resonating through the cabin and one side of the second-row bench violently rattling in its latch, there's only a modest buzz coming through the steering column and the driver's seat. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "First Drive: 2020 Land Rover Defender Is Ruggedness Evolved," 24 Mar. 2020 March 18, 2020 While investigating a theft in the Melrose district last week, LAPD detectives learned from delivery drivers that they have been instructed not to touch doorknobs, gate latches or other surfaces that may be touched often by others. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "‘Porch pirate’ burglars prey on homes getting deliveries amid coronavirus crisis," 17 Apr. 2020 Online reviews have pointed out that the closing latch tends to be a bit flimsy, but one Amazon user has found an easy DIY fix to solve the problem. Outdoor Life, "Four cooktops and grills perfect for truck camping," 15 Apr. 2020 The problem is with the latch pawl's spring-tab design. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Ford Recalls 250,000 Fiesta, Fusion, Lincoln MKZ Cars for Faulty Door Latch," 25 Mar. 2020 Incredibly, though, pigeon features include a latch-hook system to keep in place. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "What This PigeonBot Tells Us About the Future of Flight," 21 Jan. 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 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Latch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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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

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