Nearby words

  1. lochiometra,
  2. lochiometritis,
  3. lochiorrhea,
  4. lochus,
  5. loci,
  6. lock bay,
  7. lock horns,
  8. lock in,
  9. lock nut,
  10. lock on to


Origin of lock

before 900; Middle English; Old English loc fastening, bar; cognate with Middle Low German lok, Old High German loh, Old Norse lok a cover, lid, Gothic -luk in usluk opening; akin to Old English lūcan to shut

Related formslock·less, adjectiveself-lock·ing, adjectivewell-locked, adjective




a tress, curl, or ringlet of hair.
  1. the hair of the head.
  2. short wool of inferior quality, as that obtained in small clumps from the legs.
a small tuft or portion of wool, cotton, flax, etc.

Origin of lock

before 900; Middle English locke, Old English locc lock of hair, cognate with Old Norse lokkr, Dutch lok curl, German Locke Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lock

British Dictionary definitions for lock




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 personsa steering lock
  1. 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
  2. (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 leftthis 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 succeedshe 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, etcan 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 immovablethe 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

Derived Formslockable, adjective

Word Origin for lock

Old English loc; related to Old Norse lok


a strand, curl, or cluster of hair
a tuft or wisp of wool, cotton, etc
(plural) mainly literary hair, esp when curly or fine

Word Origin for lock

Old English loc; related to Old Frisian lok, Old Norse lokkr lock of wool

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 lock
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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

also see:

  • 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.