a portable or detachable lock with a pivoted or sliding shackle that can be passed through a link, ring, staple, or the like.

verb (used with object)

to fasten with or as with a padlock.

Origin of padlock

First recorded in 1425–75, padlock is from the late Middle English word padlok. See pod3, lock1
Related formsun·pad·locked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for padlock

Contemporary Examples of padlock

Historical Examples of padlock

  • After refastening the padlock, they both returned to the bench.

  • He got out with a padlock and chain; and, having put these in place, offered Alice his hand.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • As he placed the key in the padlock, he could hear the rattle of the chains of the man inside.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • He walked to the door and took out his gun as he examined the padlock.

    The Coyote

    James Roberts

  • When the padlock snapped behind him Code took in his surroundings.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

British Dictionary definitions for padlock



a detachable lock having a hinged or sliding shackle, which can be used to secure a door, lid, etc, by passing the shackle through rings or staples


(tr) to fasten with or as if with a padlock

Word Origin for padlock

C15 pad, of obscure origin
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 padlock

"removable lock," late 15c., from lokke (see lock (n.)), but the first element is of unknown origin.


1640s, from padlock (n.). Related: Padlocked; padlocking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper