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(1)   Any wrestling hold in which some part of the opponent's body is twisted or pressured
(2)   A fastener fitted to a door or drawer to keep it firmly closed
(3)   A restraint incorporated into the ignition switch to prevent the use of a vehicle by persons who do not have the key
(4)   Enclosure consisting of a section of canal that can be closed to control the water level; used to raise or lower vessels that pass through it
(5)   A mechanism that detonates the charge of a gun
(6)   A strand or cluster of hair


(7)   Become rigid or immoveable
"The therapist noticed that the patient's knees tended to lock in this exercise"
(8)   Place in a place where something cannot be removed or someone cannot escape
"The parents locked her daughter up for the weekend"
"She locked her jewels in the safe"
(9)   Fasten with a lock
"Lock the bike to the fence"
(10)   Keep engaged
"Engaged the gears"
(11)   Become engaged or intermeshed with one another
"They were locked in embrace"
(12)   Hold in a locking position
"He locked his hands around her neck"
(13)   Build locks in order to facilitate the navigation of vessels
(14)   Hold fast (in a certain state)
"He was locked in a laughing fit"
(15)   Pass by means through a lock in a waterway

Etymology 1

, from


  1. Something used for fastening, which can only be opened with a key or combination.
  2. A mutex or other token restricting access to a resource.
    • 2005, Karl Kopper, The Linux Enterprise Cluster
      ...the application must first acquire a lock on a file or a portion of a file before reading data and modifying it.
  3. A segment of a canal or other waterway enclosed by gates, used for raising and lowering boats between levels.
    • 1846, William Makepeace Thackeray, Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo
      Here the canal came to a check, ending abruptly with a large lock.
  4. The firing mechanism of a gun.
  5. Complete control over a situation.
    • 2003, Charley Rosen, The Wizard of Odds
      Even though he had not yet done so, Jack felt he had a lock on the game.
  6. Something sure to be a success.
    • 2004, Avery Corman, A perfect divorce
      Brian thinks she's a lock to get a scholarship somewhere.
  7. A player in the scrum behind the front row, usually the tallest members of the team.

Etymology 2

. Cognate with ( > ), . It has been theorised that the word may be related to the verb in its ancient meaning to curb.


  1. tuft or length of hair
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
      If I consent to burn them, will you promise faithfully neither to send nor receive a letter again, nor a book (for I perceive you have sent him books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?


  1. To become fastened in place
    If you put the brakes on too hard, the wheels will lock.
  2. To fasten with a lock.
    Remember to lock the door when you leave.
  3. To freeze one's body or a part thereof in place
    a pop and lock routine