Definition of latch in English:



  • 1A metal bar with a catch and lever used for fastening a door or gate.

    ‘lifting the latch, she pushed the gate open’
    • ‘It is made out of household parts, including a gate latch and a bike seat, and is thought to have been used for an arms exhibition.’
    • ‘He was holding the latch of a metal door in the side of the pipe.’
    • ‘Solid gates are more likely to catch the wind, and a faulty latch will cause the gate to bang about, causing you and your neighbours sleepless nights.’
    • ‘Their products are about as accurate as a lobbed brick, and cycle like the rusty gate latch in your great aunt Emily's side yard.’
    • ‘Because if it is the one with the gate, that is quite a secure fence and it looks like a gate with a latch.’
    • ‘He put it on, swung down from the sides the cheek-guards, fastened the metal latch tightly.’
    • ‘He led them deep into the back of the castle before they crossed a small, obviously rarely used courtyard and he paused, pulling back the rusty latch of the small gate.’
    • ‘Heavy-duty one-way and two-way gate latches can be operated with one hand, even on horseback!’
    • ‘Bolt-thru gate hinges and latches provides stability and long lasting performance.’
    • ‘You have to lift the latch to swing the door out, and listen for it to click when it closes.’
    • ‘Sid and Joey are proud of the family history the farms portray, from the stately Westleigh bank barn to the handmade gate hinges and latches made from iron by a 1930s farmhand.’
    • ‘I reached for the gate's latch and then pain seared through my head.’
    • ‘She crept downstairs, holding her breath as she passed her mother's room, pulled on her coat and shoes then lifted the heavy latch which secured the door.’
    • ‘Good fencing with secure gates and latches can provide homeowners with added protection and security for their homes and property.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I nodded at Mr. Gretchen and slowly made my way over to the gate and unhooked the latch.’
    • ‘Lifting her dress a few inches, she ran daintily across the grass and fumbled for a moment with the latch of the gate, locking it quickly behind her.’
    • ‘I walked over to the large oak door and lifted the latch.’
    • ‘He simply chuckled in return, stepping closer and undoing the latch to the metal box on the floor.’
    • ‘Darius flipped the latch and pushed the gate open.’
    fastening, catch, fastener
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A spring lock for an outer door, which catches when the door is closed and can only be opened from the outside with a key.
      • ‘A deadbolt is more secure than a spring-driven latch since it's much harder to push the bolt in from the side of the door.’
      • ‘John steps silently into the hallway and closes the door behind him, careful not to make a noise when he presses the button on the metal latch.’
      • ‘She pushed a series of buttons on the outside of the door and a latch unhitched.’
      • ‘Of course, it is a little late to be thinking about this now, since the plate must align with the spring latch of the lock you just installed.’
      • ‘It is a good idea to actually install the spring latch itself in the door temporarily to be sure the plate is properly located.’
      • ‘Outside, several latches disengaged, one after another.’
      • ‘He fumbled for the latch to open his door, and left the limousine and the beautiful woman behind as quickly as he could.’
      • ‘There is a second lock preventing the latch from opening 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.’
      • ‘John undid the latch and opened the door as if he were breaking in, using his shoulder like a battering ram.’
      • ‘When you depress the spring-loaded latch it opens smoothly on a hinge (also spring loaded).’
      • ‘I was also very impressed with the ease with which the split rear seats could be dropped using spring-loaded latches.’
      • ‘The side access panel is secured and released by means of two knurled thumbscrews and a spring-loaded latch.’
      • ‘The latch didn't catch, and the door shivered open.’
      • ‘The fore-end is mounted to the barrels not with a cheap spring latch as on late American doubles, but rather with a nicely inlet lever release.’
      • ‘One latch is spring-loaded and another is a two-position switch that prevents the battery from slipping out accidentally.’
      • ‘Within seconds, I had located the latch and opened the door.’
      • ‘The kiln includes a floating door system with four spring door latches and a recess on the inner door surface.’
      • ‘The key turned, the latch unlocked and the door opened.’
      • ‘Sturdy metal doors, held shut with spring latches, keep prying eyes and little hands away from the internal components.’
      bolt, lock, catch, fastening, fastener
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    2. 1.2 The part of a knitting machine needle which closes or opens to hold or release the wool.
  • 2Electronics
    A circuit which retains whatever output state results from a momentary input signal until reset by another signal.

    • ‘The actuator latch of a hard disk drive selectively intercepts the movement of the locking protrusion at the actuator so that the actuator is locked and unlocked.’
    • ‘Sense amplifier latches are coupled to each column of memory cells.’
    • ‘The compare circuit includes a holding circuitry that includes a number of latches for holding an encoded version of a memory address.’
    • ‘In one embodiment, the storage element is a data latch comprising a clock-enabled inverter serially coupled with a flip-flop.’
    • ‘The binding latch remains in a reset state while the battery signal is applied.’


[with object]
  • 1Fasten (a door or gate) with a latch.

    ‘she latched the door carefully’
    • ‘He nodded to one of the serfs, who turned and latched the door.’
    • ‘So we latched the door and waited in dark silence with bottles in our hands while four huge dudes tried to kick in the windows and doors yelling at us to come out so they could shoot and kill us.’
    • ‘Her father walked briskly to the door, and latched it shut, before having a seat at the counter.’
    • ‘He stepped out of the shed and latched the door behind him just as Trent slammed the tailgate shut.’
    • ‘He kept disappearing into the toilet where he would latch the door and snort cocaine.’
    • ‘Alexandra did so, quietly shutting and latching the door behind her.’
    • ‘‘Alright,’ Sam called, exiting the barn and sliding the two large doors shut and latching them.’
    • ‘Noah latched the gate and turned around, standing next to her.’
    • ‘Kathryn started as well and quickly slipped from the stall and latched the door.’
    • ‘Once the viewing was over, they latched the door again, in silence.’
    • ‘Aimee went into the last cubicle and latched the door, deciding that she should read a book there until the bell rings.’
    • ‘‘My mother wants to see you,’ Marc said, latching the door softly.’
    • ‘She took of her halter, slipped out of the stall, and then closed and latched the stall door.’
    • ‘After latching the door I turned back into the dark room and froze.’
    • ‘She shut the door, latched it, and climbed into the driver's seat.’
    • ‘And he shushed her, pulling her into the house, and latching the back door.’
    • ‘Without waiting for a reply, he latched the door shut again.’
    • ‘Kathryn rolled her eyes and latched the door securely.’
    • ‘She latched the door shut as she stepped outside and looked around.’
    • ‘I latched the glass door, and locked the other one, and then I left for the streets.’
    fasten, secure, make fast, bar, bolt
    View synonyms
  • 2Electronics
    no object (of a device) become fixed in a particular state.

    ‘the output relay can be set to latch at a preset value’


  • on the latch

    • (of a door or gate) closed but not locked.

      ‘let yourself in, the door's on the latch’
      • ‘The last time he gained entrance, he would say that the patient had been expecting him, and he had the door on the latch.’
      • ‘The guy checking them was so concerned that the lock on his gate was on the latch properly he just stamped it and waved me through.’
      • ‘It began with damage to the garden and if I left the door on the latch they would come in and turn off my electricity.’
      • ‘Earlier in the evening, when the Sainsbury's order arrived, I had run down four flights of stairs to collect the groceries, putting the door to the flat on the latch.’
      • ‘Luckily the door was on the latch and I managed to stumble through and shut it behind me.’
      • ‘Miranda rarely left the front door on the latch and if she did she wouldn't stray far.’
      • ‘I no longer keep a key, but the door is on the latch.’
      • ‘With the alarm off and the back-door on the latch, all my major appliances were safely delivered.’
      • ‘An 89-year-old woman discovered a man in her home in The Dell, Great Baddow, at 2pm, after he walked into the premises while the front door was on the latch.’
      • ‘In that case a decorator, left alone on the premises by the householder's wife, was held liable when he went out leaving the door on the latch and a thief entered the house and stole property.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • latch on

    • (of a breastfeeding baby) get its mouth into the correct position around the nipple.

      ‘Jamie wasn't latching on properly, and my nipple got sorer and sorer’
      • ‘When baby latches on, he will take a few quick sucks and then begin to suck a bit more slowly, deeply and rhythmically.’
      • ‘He had stopped gaining weight, and it had become so painful when he latched on that I began to dread him waking up.’
      • ‘This may happen if the baby is not latching on properly to your nipple.’
      • ‘In the instance of thrush, babies may pull off the breast, refuse to latch on, or make clicking sounds.’
      • ‘She shared the experience with us and she never left our side until the baby had latched on and was feeding.’
      • ‘In most cases, cracked or bleeding nipples can be healed by adjusting the way the baby is positioned at the breast and correcting his technique of latching on.’
      • ‘Check that your baby is latching on properly to your breast - ask your midwife or health visitor if you are not sure.’
      • ‘She had plenty of breast milk but the child was not latching on properly to feed.’
      • ‘I found breastfeeding very difficult at first - he wouldn't latch on.’
      • ‘You are led to believe that your baby will naturally latch on, and off you go on a journey of blissful feeding.’
  • latch on to

    • 1Attach oneself to (someone) as a constant and usually unwelcome companion.

      ‘he spent the whole evening trying to latch on to my friends’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eyre, 38, latched on to the boy while he was still living at home, plying him with drink and drugs, alienating him from his family and brainwashing him into believing that what he was going through was somehow normal.’
      • ‘She gathers her things and leaves the hospital, followed by the Doctor, who in his confused state latches on to someone he recognizes.’
      affiliate with, associate with, align with, ally with, unite with, combine with, integrate into, join to
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      1. 1.1Take up (an idea or trend) enthusiastically.
        ‘the newspapers latched on to the idea of healthy eating’
        • ‘People seem to be latching on to the idea that if they own a piece of music in one format, they have a right to duplicate it in another.’
        • ‘Paul and friends, while supping pints, latched on to the far-fetched idea of representing their country at a sport.’
        • ‘England, slowly latching on to the idea that their cricketers are better playing than not playing, are letting all members of their triumphant side take part in today's round of matches’
        • ‘By making the states' rights argument, the Republicans had finally latched on to an idea that resonated with conservatives in the South.’
        • ‘At a time when there was little in the way of invention, everybody latched on to the only big idea in town.’
        • ‘While latching on to the up-country trend, the industry here found itself wrong-footed and woefully short of male dancing talents.’
        • ‘The Scottish Executive has latched on to the idea that a national day is a handy way to market Scotland abroad.’
        • ‘It won't take food and drinks companies long to all latch on to the fact that Manchester sells.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘But this figure is expected to rise as more affluent mainland tourists latch on to the idea of health tourism.’
      2. 1.2British (of a football or rugby player) take advantage of (another player's move) when attacking.
        ‘Nevin latched on to a miscued header to smash home the winning goal’
        • ‘The keeper immediately launched an attack and with the Silsden defence stretched Meechan, looking marginally offside, latched on to a through ball and calmly slid it home.’
        • ‘Armstrong completed his hat-trick in fine style after the interval, latching on to a long ball from Sam Russell and coolly lofting it over the stranded Flahavan to round off an impressive performance from David Hodgson's men.’
        • ‘Ludovic Giuly beats John Terry for pace and tries to latch on to a long ball played from the back.’
        • ‘The equaliser followed a great passing move, Jonny Greenwood latching on to a through ball from midfield and firing home.’
        • ‘Michael Owen tries to latch on to a dinked Paul Scholes pass over the top.’
        • ‘His long punt was latched on to by Adam Webster and he lobbed Andy Britton.’
        • ‘Lamb did well to parry but the ball fell for the Unibond Premiership's leading scorer Paul Gedman to latch on to the loose ball and score from six yards.’
        • ‘A long ball launched in the 89th minute was latched on to by Carl Fox and he showed the home forwards how it's done.’
        • ‘Just before half-time Arthur Tegemeier pulled a goal back for New Earswick and five minutes into the second half the same player equalised after latching on to a through ball.’
        • ‘No sooner had I typed that last bit than Marc Overmars threaded a lovely ball through the Portugal defence for Ruud to latch on to.’
      3. 1.3(of one substance) cohere with (another)
        ‘the DNA chain latches on to its counterpart’
        • ‘Each of these groups of molecules contains a unique fatty acid group and a peptidic head group that latches on to iron ions.’
        • ‘Since we can't get closer than a quarter mile, we're gonna have to be shuttled in somehow and I'm not gonna take any chances that one of those mines latch on to either a sled or the mini-sub.’
        • ‘It turns out that the protein, gp 120, is extremely flexible and difficult for antibodies to latch on to.’
        • ‘These are specialized molecules that can latch on to antigens and help the rest of the immune system eliminate the foreign particle.’
        • ‘Before then, as soon as a positively charged nucleus tried to latch on to a negatively charged electron, the electron would have been knocked away by an energetic photon.’
        • ‘Some contain a strip of adhesive amino acids that latch on to their cognate sequences like Velcro.’
        • ‘By means of simple chemical programming, it's able to latch on to a cell wall.’
        • ‘The Finnish researchers had made these antibody fragments to specifically latch on to only one mirror-image form, or enantiomer, of a test molecule.’
        • ‘So what they did was condense the information into an encrypted message so tiny that it could latch on to only one wavelength of sound.’
    • 2Understand the meaning of (something)

      with clause ‘she'll soon latch on to what is happening’
      • ‘Anyone who works or has worked in an office environment will latch on to at least some of what the programme is all about.’
      • ‘I suspect that soon the PC crowd will latch on to this change and take action to get words such as ‘fatso’ and ‘blimpie’ labeled as hate speech.’
      • ‘And why are they so interested in latching on to these differences?’
      • ‘But hoaxers soon latched on to his story and have been using his name or variations of it ever since to con people into sending them their details.’
      • ‘Pupils soon latch on to this, and the spiral of decline suddenly becomes much steeper.’
      comprehend, apprehend, grasp, see, take in, perceive, discern, make out, puzzle out, recognize, keep up with, master, get to know, follow, fathom, get to the bottom of, penetrate, divine, interpret, unravel, decipher, see the light about, envisage
      View synonyms


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