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90s Slang You Should Know


[lach] /lætʃ/
a device for holding a door, gate, or the like, closed, consisting basically of a bar falling or sliding into a catch, groove, hole, etc.
verb (used with object)
to close or fasten with a latch.
verb (used without object)
to close tightly so that the latch is secured:
The door won't latch.
Verb phrases
latch on,
  1. to grab or hold on, as to an object or idea, especially tightly or tenaciously.
  2. to include or add in; attach:
    If we latch the tax on, the bill will come to over $100.
latch onto, Informal.
  1. to take possession of; obtain; get.
  2. to acquire understanding of; comprehend.
  3. to attach oneself to; join in with:
    The stray dog latched onto the children and wouldn't go home.
Origin of latch
before 950; 1930-35 for def 5; Middle English lacchen, Old English lǣccan to take hold of, catch, seize; akin to Greek lázesthai to take
Related forms
relatch, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for latches
Contemporary Examples
  • Message discipline: When he latches on to a topic, he is unstoppable, but he sometimes wanders too far.

Historical Examples
  • Your scabs came in and took our throttles on the Reading—why shouldn't we pull your latches out here?

    Held for Orders Frank H. Spearman
  • They opened inwards, and were fastened by means of bolts and latches.

  • He examined all the rest of the windows on the first floor, and found them all latched and their latches undisturbed.

  • The latches are hand wrought, or at least one of the early fabrications.

    Huntley Tony P. Wrenn
  • Knockings were heard under the table; latches of doors were moved up and down as the members of the family approached them.

  • There were latches and bolts for doors and locks for chests, drawers, and cabinets.

    The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
  • And round the dark farmhouse the winter storms howled and roared, beating against the windows and ravening by the latches.

    Carnival Compton Mackenzie
  • Any of the numerous styles of latches can be used, if desired.

  • Some churches had lead roofs and iron hinges, latches, and locks on their doors.

British Dictionary definitions for latches


a fastening for a gate or door that consists of a bar that may be slid or lowered into a groove, hole, etc
a spring-loaded door lock that can be opened by a key from outside
(electronics) Also called latch circuit. a logic circuit that transfers the input states to the output states when signalled, the output thereafter remaining insensitive to changes in input status until signalled again
to fasten, fit, or be fitted with or as if with a latch
Word Origin
Old English læccan to seize, of Germanic origin; related to Greek lazesthai
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for latches



Old English læccan "to grasp or seize," from Proto-Germanic *lakkijanan. Not found in other Germanic languages; probably from PIE *(s)lagw- "to seize" (see analemma). In its original sense the verb was paralleled in Middle English and then replaced by French import catch (v.). Meaning "to fasten with a latch" is mid-15c. Related: Latched; latching.


a fastening for a door, etc., late 13c., probably from latch (v.).



a fastening for a door, etc., late 13c., probably from latch (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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