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latch

 (lăch)
n.
1. A fastening, as for a door or gate, typically consisting of a bar that fits into a notch or slot and is lifted from either side by a lever or string.
2. A spring lock, as for a door, that is opened from the outside by a key.
v. latched, latch·ing, latch·es
v.tr.
To close or lock with a latch.
v.intr.
1. To have or be closed with a latch.
2. To shut tightly so that the latch is engaged: a door too warped to latch.
Idiom:
latch on to/onto
1. To get hold of; obtain: latched on to a fortune in the fur trade.
2. To cling to.

[Middle English latche, from lacchen, to seize, from Old English læccan.]
References in classic literature ?
I felt the need to say something, because he hung on to me as if lost, breathing heavily.
As to which quantity there was a perpetual fight going on between the master and his form--the latter insisting, and enforcing by passive resistance, that it was the prescribed quantity of Homer for a shell lesson; the former, that there was no fixed quantity, but that they must always be ready to go on to fifty or sixty lines if there were time within the hour.
exclaimed Williams, looking at Tom with great surprise for a moment, and then giving him a sudden dig in the ribs with his elbow, which sent Tom's books flying on to the floor, and called the attention of the master, who turned suddenly round, and seeing the state of things, said, -