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I know what a lock is. But what is a latch? It seems that it is similar to a lock. What's the difference?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

A latch fastens a door, gate or window in position but does not provide security. (See Wikipedia.)

A lock prevents anyone without a key from opening a door/gate/etc.

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Bonus points for an image of a latch. – kiamlaluno Feb 13 '11 at 9:55

A latch keeps something closed but does not lock it.

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A latch is a very simple device that keeps a door or window closed. On a door, it is simply a sliding piece of metal or wood that slips into a slot, or even a piece of rope with a loop that can go over a small post.

A lock needs a separate device (a key) that will unlock the lock.

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