[ lok ]
/ lɒk /
a device for securing a door, gate, lid, drawer, or the like in position when closed, consisting of a bolt or system of bolts propelled and withdrawn by a mechanism operated by a key, dial, etc.
a contrivance for fastening or securing something.
any device or part for stopping temporarily the motion of a mechanism.
an enclosed chamber in a canal, dam, etc., with gates at each end, for raising or lowering vessels from one level to another by admitting or releasing water.
an air lock or decompression chamber.
complete and unchallenged control; an unbreakable hold: The congresswoman has a lock on the senatorial nomination.
Slang. someone or something certain of success; sure thing: He's a lock to win the championship.
Wrestling. any of various holds, especially a hold secured on the arm, leg, or head: leg lock.
Horology. (in an escapement) the overlap between a tooth of an escape wheel and the surface of the pallet locking it.
Metalworking. a projection or recession in the mating face of a forging die.
verb (used with object)
to fasten or secure (a door, window, building, etc.) by the operation of a lock or locks.
to shut in a place fastened by a lock or locks, as for security or restraint.
to make fast or immovable by or as if by a lock: He locked the steering wheel on his car.
to make fast or immovable, as by engaging parts: to lock the wheels of a wagon.
to join or unite firmly by interlinking or intertwining: to lock arms.
to hold fast in an embrace: She was locked in his arms.
to move (a ship) by means of a lock or locks, as in a canal (often followed by through, in, out, down, or up).
to furnish with locks, as a canal.
verb (used without object)
to become locked: This door locks with a key.
to become fastened, fixed, or interlocked: gears that lock into place.
to go or pass by means of a lock or locks, as a vessel.
to construct locks in waterways.
- to commit unalterably: to lock in the nomination of the party's candidates.
- (of an investor) to be unable or unwilling to sell or shift securities.
lock off, to enclose (a waterway) with a lock.
lock on, to track or follow a target or object automatically by radar or other electronic means.
- to keep out by or as if by a lock.
- to subject (employees) to a lockout.
- to imprison for a crime.
- Printing. to make (type) immovable in a chase by securing the quoins.
- to fasten or secure with a lock or locks.
- to lock the doors of a house, automobile, etc.
- to fasten or fix firmly, as by engaging parts.
What Does 🔑 Key Emoji Mean?Not to be confused with the old key emoji ... the key emoji depicts a single key, and it's presented in varying shades of brass and silver on various platforms.
lock horns, to come into conflict; clash: to lock horns with a political opponent.
lock, stock, and barrel, completely; entirely; including every part, item, or facet, no matter how small or insignificant: We bought the whole business, lock, stock, and barrel.
under lock and key, securely locked up: The documents were under lock and key.
Origin of lock1
before 900; Middle English; Old English loc fastening, bar; cognate with Middle Low German lok, Old High German loh, Old Norse lok a cover, lid, Gothic -luk in usluk opening; akin to Old English lūcan to shut
Related formslock·less, adjectiveself-lock·ing, adjectivewell-locked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for under lock and key (1 of 2)
/ (lɒk) /
a device fitted to a gate, door, drawer, lid, etc, to keep it firmly closed and often to prevent access by unauthorized persons
a similar device attached to a machine, vehicle, etc, to prevent use by unauthorized personsa steering lock
- a section of a canal or river that may be closed off by gates to control the water level and the raising and lowering of vessels that pass through it
- (as modifier)a lock gate
the jamming, fastening, or locking together of parts
British the extent to which a vehicle's front wheels will turn to the right or leftthis car has a good lock
a mechanism that detonates the charge of a gun
US and Canadian informal a person or thing that is certain to win or to succeedshe is a lock for the Academy Award
lock, stock, and barrel completely; entirely
any wrestling hold in which a wrestler seizes a part of his opponent's body and twists it or otherwise exerts pressure upon it
Also called: lock forward rugby either of two players who make up the second line of the scrum and apply weight to the forwards in the front line
a gas bubble in a hydraulic system or a liquid bubble in a pneumatic system that stops or interferes with the fluid flow in a pipe, capillary, etcan air lock
to fasten (a door, gate, etc) or (of a door, etc) to become fastened with a lock, bolt, etc, so as to prevent entry or exit
(tr) to secure (a building) by locking all doors, windows, etc
to fix or become fixed together securely or inextricably
to become or cause to become rigid or immovablethe front wheels of the car locked
(when tr, often passive) to clasp or entangle (someone or each other) in a struggle or embrace
(tr) to furnish (a canal) with locks
(tr) to move (a vessel) through a system of locks
lock horns (esp of two equally matched opponents) to become engaged in argument or battle
lock the stable door after the horse has bolted or lock the stable door after the horse has been stolen to take precautions after harm has been done
Derived Formslockable, adjective
Word Origin for lock
Old English loc; related to Old Norse lok
British Dictionary definitions for under lock and key (2 of 2)
/ (lɒk) /
a strand, curl, or cluster of hair
a tuft or wisp of wool, cotton, etc
(plural) mainly literary hair, esp when curly or fine
Word Origin for lock
Old English loc; related to Old Frisian lok, Old Norse lokkr lock of wool
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
Idioms and Phrases with under lock and key (1 of 2)
under lock and key
Securely locked up, as in He keeps the wine under lock and key. [First half of 1500s]
Idioms and Phrases with under lock and key (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with lock
- lock horns
- lock in
- lock out
- lock the barn door after the horse has bolted
- lock up
- under lock and key
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.