1. 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)
  1. to close or fasten with a latch.
verb (used without object)
  1. to close tightly so that the latch is secured: The door won't latch.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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.
  2. 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 formsre·latch, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for latched

clamp, bar, hook, fastening, bolt, catch, hasp, padlock, secure, lock, cinch, close

Examples from the Web for latched

Contemporary Examples of latched

Historical Examples of latched

  • Jason latched the servo-tracer on Lonnie and settled down to wait.

    Zero Data

    Charles Saphro

  • But I distinctly remember that it was not only shut, but latched on the inside!

  • It's no secret that we've latched on to quite a number of your friends.

    Highways in Hiding

    George Oliver Smith

  • He latched the door, stumbled into the cabin and fell on the bed.

    Cat and Mouse

    Ralph Williams

  • The door was not latched, and every thing was so quiet that I stood still and listened.

    Aunt Kitty's Tales

    Maria J. McIntosh

British Dictionary definitions for latched


  1. a fastening for a gate or door that consists of a bar that may be slid or lowered into a groove, hole, etc
  2. a spring-loaded door lock that can be opened by a key from outside
  3. Also called: latch circuit electronics 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
  1. to fasten, fit, or be fitted with or as if with a latch

Word Origin for latch

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

Word Origin and History for latched



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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper