[ lok-in ]
/ ˈlɒkˌɪn /
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an act or instance of becoming unalterable, unmovable, or rigid.
commitment, binding, or restriction.
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Origin of lock-in

First recorded in 1965–70; noun use of verb phrase lock in
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lock-in in a sentence

  • The law's supporters have been counting on a lock-in effect to make the law hard to repeal.

    The Rube Goldberg Policy Machine|Megan McArdle|October 2, 2012|DAILY BEAST
  • Lock-in is the decreased likelihood to search for, or change to, another option once an investment in something has been made.

    Don't Shack Up|David Frum|April 16, 2012|DAILY BEAST
  • To every appeal they heartlessly refused to divulge the key to the lock-in.

    Meeting of the Board|Alan Edward Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for lock-in


an illegal session of selling alcohol in a bar after the time when it should, by law, be closed
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

lock in


Enclose, surround, as in The ship was completely locked in ice. [c. 1400s]


Also, lock into. Fix firmly in position, commit to something. This phrase often occurs as be locked in or into, as in She felt she was locked in a binding agreement, or Many of the stockholders are locked into their present positions. [Mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.