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[lach-ing] /ˈlætʃ ɪŋ/
any of the loops by which a bonnet is attached to a sail.
Origin of latching
1325-75; Middle English; see latch, -ing1


[lach] /lætʃ/
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.
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 forms
relatch, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for latching
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Marion rushed along the entry, reaching her teacher's room just as Sarah was carefully closing and latching the closet-door.

    Marion Berkley Elizabeth B. Comins
  • The latching of the door behind him ended the brief instant of revelation.

    A Man's Hearth Eleanor M. Ingram
  • The shower of dust and stones blinded him, and kept him from latching onto the tail of the car and climbing in.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • The latching of the gate broke up her depressing revery and banished the pinched and pining look from her features.

  • Wallingford ran to open the gate as Fannie approached it, closing it and latching it in time to stop her stepmother.

    Young Wallingford George Randolph Chester
  • Problem: how do you go about latching on to anything as downright nonexistent as all that?

    Occasion for Disaster Gordon Randall Garrett
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
(electronics) Also called latch circuit. 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
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
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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
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