latch·​key | \ ˈlach-ˌkē How to pronounce latchkey (audio) \

Definition of latchkey

: a key to an outside and especially a front door

Examples of latchkey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an interview with the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Santos spoke of being an adventurous latchkey kid who learned to fish at Woodlawn Lake using his mother’s tortilla masa for bait. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: Biden's census pick a statistician with a social justice heart," 17 Apr. 2021 Yes, today’s helicopter and tiger parents were once latchkey kids, nuking solitary French bread pizza dinners in the microwave. Elisabeth Egan, New York Times, "Beverly Cleary Wrote About Real Life, and Her Readers Loved Her for It," 26 Mar. 2021 Schoolchildren coming to an empty home for lunch because their mothers were working were disparaged as Schlüsselkinder, or latchkey kids. Isabelle De Pommereau, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why does Germany make so little room for working moms?," 23 Sep. 2020 When the coronavirus pandemic started, some Gen X-ers bragged that they were uniquely suited for the lockdown, as former latchkey kids who were used to sitting around doing nothing. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Bill and Ted and the Bogus Letdown of Gen X Middle Age," 2 Sep. 2020 Shutdown orders across the nation prompted a flurry of half-joking speculation that Generation X, a cluster of former latchkey kids raised on pop culture that plumbed social alienation, was uniquely prepared to weather quarantining at home. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Generational Warfare in a Pandemic," 22 Apr. 2020 Growing up in Meadowview in Sacramento, California, aka Danger Island, Mahisha Dellinger was a latchkey kid from a single-parent home. Marquita K. Harris, Essence, "Meet Mahisha Dellinger, A Self-Made Millionaire," 22 Oct. 2019 As latchkey kids in an often harsh environment, the Gunners found that the most effective defense against pain was the denial of it. Xhenet Aliu, New York Times, "Childhood Friends — Once Inseparable, Now Far-Flung — Reunite for a Funeral," 11 May 2018 Perceptions of masculinity are informed by everything and everyone around us, and for me, a latchkey kid with hours of entertainment budgeted into each day, media played as significant a role in shaping those ideas as did my own parents. Jordan Calhoun, The Atlantic, "Growing Up Without Jane the Virgin," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'latchkey.' 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 latchkey

1825, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for latchkey

Time Traveler

The first known use of latchkey was in 1825

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Statistics for latchkey

Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Latchkey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for latchkey



English Language Learners Definition of latchkey

: a key for opening an outside door

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