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lockdown

[lok-doun]
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noun
  1. the confining of prisoners to their cells, as following a riot or other disturbance.
  2. a security measure taken during an emergency to prevent people from leaving or entering a building: The school remains under lockdown due to police activity in the area.
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Origin of lockdown

1970–75; lock1 + -down, probably extracted from nouns formed from phrasal verbs, such as crackdown, shutdown, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lockdown

lockdown

noun
  1. US a security measure in which those inside a building such as a prison, school, or hospital are required to remain confined in it for a timemany schools remained under lockdown yesterday
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lockdown

n.

also lock-down, from 1940s in various mechanical senses, from lock (v.) + down (adv.). Prison sense is by 1975, American English.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper