latch

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latchkey child

A child who is home alone after school or in general because their parents or guardians are at work. I know it makes me sound horrible, but I just don't want Tommy hanging out with those latchkey children from down the road. Being a latchkey child was tough at times, but it taught me the value of self-reliance at an earlier age than most.
See also: child, latchkey

latchkey kid

A child who is home alone after school or in general because their parents or guardians are at work. I know it makes me sound horrible, but I just don't want Tommy hanging out with those latchkey kids from down the road. Being a latchkey kid was tough at times, but it taught me the value of self-reliance at an earlier age than most.
See also: kid, latchkey

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

on the latch

Of a door, closed but not locked. Primarily heard in UK. In the small village where I grew up, you knew everyone around you, so everyone left their doors on the latch.
See also: latch, on

latch on

1. To fasten, attach, or hold tightly on (to someone or something). Be careful around that animal—if it latches on with its teeth, it won't let go. My son latched on to my arm when the movie became too intense for her.
2. To fasten or attach something to someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "latch" and "on." I just need to latch the trailer on the truck, and we'll be ready to go. Once you latch the antenna on, we should be able to communicate to the control tower.
3. To begin to comprehend, understand, or make sense of something. Once he latched on to the instructions in the manual, he was able to complete the repair. He's explained it twice already, but I'm still having trouble latching on.
4. To become fixated on or accepting of some idea, notion, or belief. I don't know why he's latched on to this idea of moving to Canada, but he seems dead set on it now. I'll try to get the rest of the board members to latch on if you can show some data to back up your plan.
5. To become closely involved or associated with a person or group. I was friendly with one guy during our orientation for the graduate program, but then he latched on and started following me around campus for the rest of the day. Tom's really latched on to the local rowing club.
See also: latch, on

the latch string is always out

old-fashioned You are always welcome to come and visit. Be sure to call around if you're ever in the area—the latch string's always out. I know you've been going through some tough times lately, so if you ever need someone to talk to, I want you to know that the latch string is always out.
See also: always, latch, out, string

latch on (to someone)

to get hold of someone. I don't know where Jane is. Let me try to latch onto her.
See also: latch, on

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

latch string is always out

Fig. You are always welcome. Come by anytime. The latch string is always out. No need to call before you come over. For you folks, the latch string is always out.
See also: always, latch, out, string

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

on the ˈlatch

(British English) closed but not locked: Can you leave the door on the latch so I can get in?
See also: latch, on

latch

on to/onto
1. To get hold of; obtain: latched on to a fortune in the fur trade.
2. To cling to.
References in periodicals archive ?
The cutout for the MultiFlex S locking system is symmetrical to the horizontal center of the door, and the hole patterns for the hinges are identical and symmetrical to those of the latching and closing system.
This is possible because the multi-point latching system is mounted outside the sealed area of the door.
The only requirement for actuation is that the actuator itself, when separate from the latching mechanism, can be turned or swung either clockwise or counterclockwise.
Its dilemma concerned the latching of its new OMX Frame.
The engineers wanted the latch to be a quarter-turn model that would allow quick and easy latching.
It combines the convenience of push-to-close and quarter-turn-to-open latching with an added compression feature.
N = (LCFs)/(2W1) N = number of latching points L = overall gasket length, cm C = gasket closure force, kg/cm Fs = safety factor W1 = latch working toad.
The hinge side provides half the force, while the other half depends on the latching points.
Grip range is the distance the pawl travels from its minimum to maximum position to allow for proper latching and retention.