[ uhn-lok ]
/ ʌnˈlɒk /

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.

Nearby words

  1. unlivable,
  2. unlive,
  3. unlively,
  4. unload,
  5. unloanable,
  6. unlocked,
  7. unlooked,
  8. unlooked-for,
  9. unloose,
  10. unloosen

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

British Dictionary definitions for unlock


/ (ʌnˈlɒk) /


(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