[ lok-uhp ]
See synonyms for lockup on Thesaurus.com
  1. a jail, especially a local one for temporary detention.

  2. the act of locking up or the state of being locked up.

  1. a temporary imprisonment or detention, as of suspects or prisoners.

  2. a stock that has been held by an individual as a long-term investment, or that a brokerage firm is required by a regulation to hold for a certain period of time before it can be sold.

  3. any investment or credit instrument, as a renewed loan, in which capital is tied up for a long time.

  4. Printing.

    • the entire body of type and cuts locked up in a chase preparatory to printing or platemaking.

    • the act or procedure of locking up type and cuts in a chase.

  5. Automotive. a sudden stopping of the rotation of a wheel.

  6. British Informal. a rented locker, storage space, or garage.

Origin of lockup

First recorded in 1760–70; noun use of verb phrase lock up

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lockup in a sentence

  • 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
  • One of the punishments Mr Yates had invented was to lock up a culprit in a dark room for several hours together, without food.

    Digby Heathcote | W.H.G. Kingston
  • Most Wrykinians brewed in the winter and Easter terms, when the days were short and lock-up early.

    The Gold Bat | P. G. Wodehouse
  • As he spoke he began carefully to lock up some of the jewels in their little boxes, as if he meant to go away.

    Wonder-Box Tales | Jean Ingelow
  • Lock-up was still at six, so at a quarter to that hour they slipped down into the vault, and took up their position.

    The Gold Bat | P. G. Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for lock up

lock up

  1. Also: lock in, lock away (tr) to imprison or confine

  2. to lock or secure the doors, windows, etc, of (a building)

  1. (tr) to keep or store securely: secrets locked up in history

  2. (tr) to invest (funds) so that conversion into cash is difficult

  3. printing to secure (type, etc) in a chase or in the bed of the printing machine by tightening the quoins

  1. the action or time of locking up

  2. a jail or block of cells

  1. British a small shop with no attached quarters for the owner or shopkeeper

  2. British a garage or storage place separate from the main premises

  3. stock exchange an investment that is intended to be held for a relatively long period

  4. printing the pages of type held in a chase by the positioning of quoins

  1. lock-up British and NZ (of premises) without living accommodation: a lock-up shop

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 lockup


Close a house or place of work, fastening all the doors and windows, as in The attendant locks up at eleven o'clock every night, or Did you remind Abby to lock up? [Late 1500s]

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