[ dred-loks ]
/ ˈdrɛdˌlɒks /

noun (used with a plural verb)

a hair style, especially among Rastafarians, in which the hair is worn in long, ropelike locks.

Origin of dreadlocks

First recorded in 1955–60; dread + lock2 + -s3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dreadlocks

British Dictionary definitions for dreadlocks


/ (ˈdrɛdˌlɒks) /

pl n

hair worn in the Rastafarian style of long matted or tightly curled strands
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 dreadlocks



1960, from dread + locks (see lock (n.2)). The style supposedly based on that of East African warriors. So called from the dread they presumably aroused in beholders, but Rastafarian dread (1974) also has a sense of "fear of the Lord," expressed in part as alienation from contemporary society.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper