a device for securing a door, gate, lid, drawer, or the like in position when closed, consisting of a bolt or system of bolts propelled and withdrawn by a mechanism operated by a key, dial, etc.
a contrivance for fastening or securing something.
(in a firearm)
the mechanism that explodes the charge; gunlock.
any device or part for stopping temporarily the motion of a mechanism.
an enclosed chamber in a canal, dam, etc., with gates at each end, for raising or lowering vessels from one level to another by admitting or releasing water.
an air lock or decompression chamber.
complete and unchallenged control; an unbreakable hold: The congresswoman has a lock on the senatorial nomination.
Slang. someone or something certain of success; sure thing: He's a lock to win the championship.
Wrestling. any of various holds, especially a hold secured on the arm, leg, or head: leg lock.
Horology. (in an escapement) the overlap between a tooth of an escape wheel and the surface of the pallet locking it.
Metalworking. a projection or recession in the mating face of a forging die.
to fasten or secure (a door, window, building, etc.) by the operation of a lock or locks.
to shut in a place fastened by a lock or locks, as for security or restraint.
to make fast or immovable by or as if by a lock: He locked the steering wheel on his car.
to make fast or immovable, as by engaging parts: to lock the wheels of a wagon.
to join or unite firmly by interlinking or intertwining: to lock arms.
to hold fast in an embrace: She was locked in his arms.
to move (a ship) by means of a lock or locks, as in a canal (often followed by through, in, out, down, or up).
to furnish with locks, as a canal.
to become locked: This door locks with a key.
to become fastened, fixed, or interlocked: gears that lock into place.
to go or pass by means of a lock or locks, as a vessel.
to construct locks in waterways.
to commit unalterably: to lock in the nomination of the party's candidates.
(of an investor) to be unable or unwilling to sell or shift securities.
lock off, to enclose (a waterway) with a lock.
to track or follow a target or object automatically by radar or other electronic means.
(in a video game) to target and then maintain the focus of the game camera and the player’s weapon on a selected character or item, though the player character and the targeted character may both be in motion.
to keep out by or as if by a lock.
to subject (employees) to a lockout.
to imprison for a crime.
Printing. to make (type) immovable in a chase by securing the quoins.
to fasten or secure with a lock or locks.
to lock the doors of a house, automobile, etc.
to fasten or fix firmly, as by engaging parts.
Idioms about lock
lock horns, to come into conflict; clash: to lock horns with a political opponent.
under lock and key, securely locked up: The documents were under lock and key.
lock and load,
to load a gun with ammunition and prepare to fire: At twelve years old, I had to lock and load to protect the herd from cattle rustlers.
to ready oneself for action: Lock and load, gamers! The tournament starts in ten!
- lock·less, adjective
- self-lock·ing, adjective
- well-locked, adjective
Other definitions for lock (2 of 2)
a tress, curl, or ringlet of hair.
the hair of the head.
short wool of inferior quality, as that obtained in small clumps from the legs.
a small tuft or portion of wool, cotton, flax, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use lock in a sentence
On top of that we run what’s called the dynamic paywall, which is a lock on stories regardless of their content category, but based more on your habits on the Daily Beast.Media Briefing: Media companies’ DE&I follow-throughs fall short | Tim Peterson | February 4, 2021 | Digiday
These small compounds lock into place with water molecules, like a key in a lock, to prevent ice from forming.Fish blood could hold the answer to safer de-icing solutions during snowstorms | By Monika Bleszynski/The Conversation | February 1, 2021 | Popular-Science
There, the chemicals fit like a key into receptors — molecules that are like locks.
Ceramic dryers can increase volume and reduce dryness in thin, fine hair, but might leave something to be desired for those with fuller locks.The best hair dryer: Get a salon-worthy blowout at home | Carsen Joenk | January 22, 2021 | Popular-Science
On top of those functions, it’s equipped with a 30-minute keep warm setting, control lock, turbo defrost, and more.The best microwaves: This way for buttery popcorn and tempting leftovers | PopSci Commerce Team | January 22, 2021 | Popular-Science
While the desk sergeant ran a background check, he was roughed up by another officer in the lock-up.
“Now they will definitely lock Navalny in prison,” one of the women in the crowd said.
Who knew that a competition where you clutch the hand of another man and lock eyes across a table could be this damn gay.High-End Pervs Film Benedict Cumberbatch and Reese Witherspoon Sucking Face | Amy Zimmerman | December 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In many ways, she seems a lock for the win, but her atheism puts her entire character in question.The Good Wife’s Religion Politics: Voters Have No Faith in Alicia's Atheism | Regina Lizik | November 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Charges were eventually dropped against them, in part because two had lock-solid alibis.
The place was used as a lock-up for some time after the incorporation, and the old irons were kept on show for years.Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham | Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
I do not know—I do not dare to believe—that I shall live to hear that key grating in the lock.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
Another manner of punishment consists in making them wear a tin mask, which is fastened with a lock behind.A Woman's Journey Round the World | Ida Pfeiffer
The launch was already under way, and young Cargill trying to avoid it better, thrust with his boat-hook at the side of the lock.Uncanny Tales | Various
He turned into the right number, as he thought, but upon trying to insert the key in the lock he found that he had made a mistake.The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
British Dictionary definitions for lock (1 of 2)
a device fitted to a gate, door, drawer, lid, etc, to keep it firmly closed and often to prevent access by unauthorized persons
a similar device attached to a machine, vehicle, etc, to prevent use by unauthorized persons: a steering lock
a section of a canal or river that may be closed off by gates to control the water level and the raising and lowering of vessels that pass through it
(as modifier): a lock gate
the jamming, fastening, or locking together of parts
British the extent to which a vehicle's front wheels will turn to the right or left: this car has a good lock
a mechanism that detonates the charge of a gun
US and Canadian informal a person or thing that is certain to win or to succeed: she is a lock for the Academy Award
lock, stock, and barrel completely; entirely
any wrestling hold in which a wrestler seizes a part of his opponent's body and twists it or otherwise exerts pressure upon it
Also called: lock forward rugby either of two players who make up the second line of the scrum and apply weight to the forwards in the front line
a gas bubble in a hydraulic system or a liquid bubble in a pneumatic system that stops or interferes with the fluid flow in a pipe, capillary, etc: an air lock
to fasten (a door, gate, etc) or (of a door, etc) to become fastened with a lock, bolt, etc, so as to prevent entry or exit
(tr) to secure (a building) by locking all doors, windows, etc
to fix or become fixed together securely or inextricably
to become or cause to become rigid or immovable: the front wheels of the car locked
(when tr, often passive) to clasp or entangle (someone or each other) in a struggle or embrace
(tr) to furnish (a canal) with locks
(tr) to move (a vessel) through a system of locks
lock horns (esp of two equally matched opponents) to become engaged in argument or battle
lock the stable door after the horse has bolted or lock the stable door after the horse has been stolen to take precautions after harm has been done
- lockable, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for lock (2 of 2)
a strand, curl, or cluster of hair
a tuft or wisp of wool, cotton, etc
(plural) mainly literary hair, esp when curly or fine
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with lock
In addition to the idioms beginning with lock
- lock horns
- lock in
- lock out
- lock the barn door after the horse has bolted
- lock up
- under lock and key
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.