from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A key for opening a latch or lock, especially one on an outside door.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A key, especially to an outside door.
  • n. A child who is given a key to the home and is expected to remain at home alone (without adult supervision until the parents return from work).
  • adj. Equipped with a key; generally in the phrase latchkey child.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A key used to raise, or throw back, the latch of a door, esp. a night latch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A key used to raise or throw back the latch of a door and allow one to enter from the side on which the knob does not control the latch. See night-key.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. key for raising or drawing back a latch or opening an outside door


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • When baby boomers were raising kids they invented the term latchkey kid and yuppie; we invented the terms shared care and stay-at-home-dad.

    Penelope Trunk: Generation Y: Our American Dream

  • What they call latchkey now, but they didn't have a name for it back then.

    Devil's Waltz

  • Alex comes with a "latchkey" - a USB stick without which the laptop won't operate.


  • COOPER: Over the last 20 years, the percentage of moms who work outside the home has doubled, and over six million kids come home to empty houses, the so-called latchkey kids.

    CNN Transcript Nov 9, 2004

  • Far from instilling fear, as it was meant to, the movie made the word "latchkey" synonymous with danger and excitement and made me intensely jealous of anyone who was one.

    Jessica Olien: Back to School Stealing

  • I bring this up because, among the children in the neighborhood where I now live, the term "latchkey" is about as pansy as it gets.

    Jessica Olien: Back to School Stealing

  • For example, says Gingrich, if you want to do something about "latchkey" children, do something for parents who are working longer, and at more jobs, in order to pay for government's vastly increased bite of paychecks since the 1950s.

    Republicans, Just Waiting

  • These so-called "latchkey" children can be found in every American community, whether urban, suburban, or rural; they are the children of working parents who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to arrange or afford a better alternative.

    Proclamation On Afterschool Week

  • Customers buy the laptop, which comes with a USB 'latchkey' to log into the machine, then pay a monthly fee for access and support.

    ZDNet UK Highlights

  • Along with the school closings, 2,500 teachers will be out of jobs and cuts in school programs such as latchkey, school nurses, tutoring and ESL will be in effect.

    We Are Change


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