verb (used with object)

to undo the lock of (a door, chest, etc.), especially with a key.
to open or release by or as if by undoing a lock.
to open (anything firmly closed or joined): to unlock the jaws.
to lay open; disclose: to unlock the secrets of one's heart.

verb (used without object)

to become unlocked.

Origin of unlock

1350–1400; Middle English unloken; see un-2, lock1
Related formsun·lock·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unlock

Contemporary Examples of unlock

Historical Examples of unlock

  • One thing is plain, you must either go to them, or unlock the cellar-door.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • "And that bear of a Ketch won't hurry himself to unlock them," soliloquized he.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • It was the dark chamber of her heart which God only could unlock.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • When you have felled him, get it and unlock the door; then whistle for me.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He soon heard her unlock the door, and in a moment he ran into her arms.

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

British Dictionary definitions for unlock



(tr) to unfasten (a lock, door, etc)
(tr) to open, release, or let loose
(tr) to disclose or provide the key tounlock a puzzle
(intr) to become unlocked
Derived Formsunlockable, adjective
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 unlock

c.1400, from un- (2) + lock (v.). Figurative sense is attested from 1530s. Related: Unlocked; unlocking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper