Definition of latch in English:

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Pronunciation: /laCH/


1A metal bar with a catch and lever used for fastening a door or gate.
Example sentences
  • On large canvas slabs, he uses a thick rust-colored paint and applies objects such as antler-shaped branches, a door latch or a metal chain.
  • He put it on, swung down from the sides the cheek-guards, fastened the metal latch tightly.
  • He was holding the latch of a metal door in the side of the pipe.
fastening, catch, fastener, clasp, lock
1.1A spring lock for an outer door that catches when the door is closed and can only be opened from the outside with a key.
Example sentences
  • Within seconds, I had located the latch and opened the door.
  • Wasting no time I pulled on my trousers and buckled them, kicking into my shoes and grabbing my shirt and jacket when the door latch opened.
  • He fumbled for the latch to open his door, and left the limousine and the beautiful woman behind as quickly as he could.
1.2 Electronics A circuit that retains whatever output state results from a momentary input signal until reset by another signal.
Example sentences
  • The binding latch remains in a reset state while the battery signal is applied.
  • The compare circuit includes a holding circuitry that includes a number of latches for holding an encoded version of a memory address.
  • Sense amplifier latches are coupled to each column of memory cells.
1.3The part of a knitting machine needle that closes or opens to hold or release the wool.


[with object]
1Fasten (a door or gate) with a latch: she latched the door carefully
More example sentences
  • Kathryn rolled her eyes and latched the door securely.
  • Once the viewing was over, they latched the door again, in silence.
  • And he shushed her, pulling her into the house, and latching the back door.
fasten, secure, make fast, lock
1.1 [no object] Electronics (Of a device) become fixed in a particular state.

Phrasal verbs

latch onto

informal Attach oneself to (someone) as a constant and usually unwelcome companion: a knack for latching onto people with greater initiative and enterprise
More example sentences
  • He latches on to Dan one evening, all but inviting himself to the man's home for dinner.
  • As a further sub-plot, we have John meeting an Asian woman who latches on to him and takes photographs constantly - she turns out to be an art student, and takes John clubbing, along with her student pals.
  • She gathers her things and leaves the hospital, followed by the Doctor, who in his confused state latches on to someone he recognizes.
1.1Take up (an idea or trend) enthusiastically: the media have latched onto the snappy “Generation X” catchphrase
More example sentences
  • Frustrated by the lack of quick progress on the ground and fading political support at home, Washington is now latching on to the idea that a quick transfer of power to local troops and politicians would make things better.
  • While latching on to the up-country trend, the industry here found itself wrong-footed and woefully short of male dancing talents.
  • By making the states' rights argument, the Republicans had finally latched on to an idea that resonated with conservatives in the South.
1.2(Of one substance) cohere with (another).
Example sentences
  • Each of these groups of molecules contains a unique fatty acid group and a peptidic head group that latches on to iron ions.
  • Some contain a strip of adhesive amino acids that latch on to their cognate sequences like Velcro.
  • These are specialized molecules that can latch on to antigens and help the rest of the immune system eliminate the foreign particle.


Old English læccan 'take hold of, grasp (physically or mentally)', of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with latch

attach, batch, catch, crosshatch, detach, hatch, match, mismatch, natch, outmatch, patch, scratch, thatch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: latch

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