Definition of latch onto in English:

latch onto

phrasal verb

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

    ‘a knack for latching onto people with greater initiative and enterprise’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He latches on to Dan one evening, all but inviting himself to the man's home for dinner.’
    affiliate with, associate with, align with, ally with, unite with, combine with, integrate into, join to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Take up (an idea or trend) enthusiastically.
      ‘the media have latched onto the snappy “Generation X” catchphrase’
      • ‘By making the states' rights argument, the Republicans had finally latched on to an idea that resonated with conservatives in the South.’
      • ‘It won't take food and drinks companies long to all latch on to the fact that Manchester sells.’
      • ‘The Scottish Executive has latched on to the idea that a national day is a handy way to market Scotland abroad.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘At a time when there was little in the way of invention, everybody latched on to the only big idea in town.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While latching on to the up-country trend, the industry here found itself wrong-footed and woefully short of male dancing talents.’
    2. 1.2(of one substance) cohere with (another)
      • ‘These are specialized molecules that can latch on to antigens and help the rest of the immune system eliminate the foreign particle.’
      • ‘Some contain a strip of adhesive amino acids that latch on to their cognate sequences like Velcro.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By means of simple chemical programming, it's able to latch on to a cell wall.’
      • ‘It turns out that the protein, gp 120, is extremely flexible and difficult for antibodies to latch on to.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Finnish researchers had made these antibody fragments to specifically latch on to only one mirror-image form, or enantiomer, of a test molecule.’