"to grasp or seize," from P.Gmc. *lakkijanan.
Not found in other Gmc. languages; probably from PIE *(s)lagw-
"to seize" (see analemma
). The noun is first recorded 1331, from the verb. Latchkey
(1825) is a key to draw back the latch of a door; latchkey child
first recorded 1944, Amer.Eng., in ref. to children who come home from school while both parents are at work.