[ mach-lok ]
/ ˈmætʃˌlɒk /


an old form of gunlock in which the priming was ignited by a slow match.
a hand gun, usually a musket, with such a lock.

Origin of matchlock

First recorded in 1630–40; match1 + lock1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for matchlock

British Dictionary definitions for matchlock


/ (ˈmætʃˌlɒk) /


an obsolete type of gunlock igniting the powder by means of a slow match
a gun having such a lock
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 matchlock



1690s, from match (n.1), in reference to the firing mechanism, + lock (n.1) in the firearm sense (1540s); probably so called for its resemblance to a door-latching device.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper