• synonyms


noun Pathology.
  1. tetanus in which the jaws become firmly locked together; trismus.
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Origin of lockjaw

First recorded in 1795–1805; lock1 + jaw1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lock-jaw

Historical Examples of lock-jaw

  • No one who had ever seen death,” answered he, “could mistake it in the case of lock-jaw.

    The Watcher

    J. Sheridan Le Fanu

  • He objected to going to a doctor even after I warned him of lock-jaw.

    Detectives, Inc.

    William Heyliger

  • Remember vaguely that lock-jaw often follows a wound on the hand.

  • You don't feel like you were going to have lock-jaw, do you, Mr. Culchard?

  • I tell you that the scratch of a pin has sometimes produced the lock-jaw.

British Dictionary definitions for lock-jaw


  1. pathol a nontechnical name for trismus, tetanus
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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 lock-jaw


also lockjaw, 1786, earlier locked-jaw (1765), popular name for trismus, also applied to tetanus, from lock (v.) + jaw.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lock-jaw in Medicine


  1. tetanus
  2. trismus
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.