latch onto

latch onto (someone or something)

1. To understand or make sense of something. Once he latched onto the instructions in the manual, he was able to complete the repair.
2. To gain or obtain something. I need to latch onto a birthday card before the party on Saturday.
3. To become closely involved with a person or group. I latched onto the one friend I'd made at orientation and followed her around the cafeteria.
See also: latch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

latch onto something

1. Fig. to obtain something. (See also latch on(to someone or something).) I have to latch onto a hundred bucks by Friday night. I latched onto a good book about repairing plumbing.
2. Fig. to begin to understand something. When Fred finally latched onto the principles of algebra, he began to get better grades. Sue doesn't quite latch onto the proper stance in golf.
See also: latch
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

latch onto

Also, latch on to.
1. Get hold of, grasp; also, understand, grasp mentally. For example, They latched onto a fortune in the fur trade, or Carol quickly latched on to how the sewing machine works. [c. 1930]
2. Attach oneself to, join in with, as in Rob didn't know the way so he latched on to one of the older children. [c. 1930]
See also: latch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Of course, your country is wholly free to latch onto any other language.
West Ham defender Manuel da Costa failed to deal with Malbranque's inswinging delivery but Campbell could not latch onto the loose ball.
New boss Taylor saw Leon Cort put his side level with a header after 52 minutes and Dougie Freedman latch onto James Scowcroft's flick-on to give them the lead three minutes later.
But boxed up with Christian, these roaches used their hooks to latch onto him!
Drugs added to animal feed can latch onto dust particles that become airborne and float through farm buildings, according to German scientists investigating health risks.
"It's why the terrified and the simple / latch onto one story, / just one version of the great mystery."
[Intellectuals] latch onto hip-hop to latch onto hipness.
I am by no means wedded to a model of criticism which would always automatically prioritize such issues, but they do at least provide something which twenty-first century undergraduates can latch onto, and my main reservation about this book is that it can tend to the dry.
Whereas when a more secular, materialist painter wrestles with space and color and paint application and comes up short, you can at least latch onto some vigorous carpentry - even if it leaves splinters in your hands.
When a group first forms, people experiment with different ways of doing things, and when something really seems to work, they latch onto it and use it over and over.
You learned in "Shark-Bite Science" that the blind shark uses suction to latch onto prey.
Previous studies suggested that one receptor is particularly instrumental to bone growth, so his team screened hundreds of compounds to find ones that would only latch onto that cell-surface molecule.
The obvious horse to latch onto is old COPELAND who runs well in this kind of race and has to be backed at 10-1 where you can get it as Jamie Moore lessens his burden even more with his claim.
When an ice crystal forms and grows in a wheat plant, AFPs latch onto the crystal's surface, blocking further growth.
Complement proteins latch onto the antibodies, and the resulting immune complex destroys the invaders and creates debris in the bloodstream.