any of the loops by which a bonnet is attached to a sail.

Origin of latching

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at latch, -ing1




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 formsre·latch, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for latching

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

Examples from the Web for latching

Contemporary Examples of latching

  • In reality, some women have difficulty breastfeeding, or have babies who struggle with latching on properly.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Breastfeeding Pills’ Risky Results

    Eliza Shapiro

    August 7, 2012

  • Just latching on to you, no matter how you tried to brush them off, and almost telling you how they wanted it done.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jim Thompson's Legacy

    Allen Barra

    June 16, 2010

  • A lot of people are latching on to feel like they're part of a bigger food trend.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Stop the Bacon Insanity!

    Tim Love

    February 23, 2010

  • Latching on to a man for the sake of latching on will not make you feel better.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Not to Marry the Wrong Man

    Anne Milford, Jennifer Gauvain

    February 13, 2010

Historical Examples of latching

British Dictionary definitions for latching



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
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


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 latching



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