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Etymology 1[edit]

A key lock. (a device requiring a key or a combination to be opened)
A lock (canal segment).

From Old English loc, from Proto-Germanic *luką. The verb is from Old English lūcan, from Proto-Germanic *lūkaną.


lock (plural locks)

  1. Something used for fastening, which can only be opened with a key or combination.
  2. (computing, by extension) 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. (rugby) A player in the scrum behind the front row, usually the tallest members of the team.
    • 2011 Septembe 24, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 67-3 Romania”, BBC Sport:
      Ashton only had to wait three minutes for his second try, lock Louis Deacon setting it up with a rollocking line-break, before Romania got on the scoreboard courtesy of a penalty from fly-half Marin Danut Dumbrava.
  8. A fastening together or interlacing; a closing of one thing upon another; a state of being fixed or immovable.
    • De Quincey
      Albemarle Street closed by a lock of carriages
  9. A place from which egress is prevented, as by a lock.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  10. A device for keeping a wheel from turning.
  11. A grapple in wrestling.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)
Derived terms[edit]


lock (third-person singular simple present locks, present participle locking, simple past and past participle locked)

  1. (intransitive) To become fastened in place.
    If you put the brakes on too hard, the wheels will lock.
  2. (transitive) To fasten with a lock.
    Remember to lock the door when you leave.
  3. (intransitive) To be capable of becoming fastened in place.
    This door locks with a key.
  4. (transitive) To intertwine or dovetail.
    with his hands locked behind his back
    We locked arms and stepped out into the night.
  5. (intransitive, break dancing) To freeze one's body or a part thereof in place.
    a pop and lock routine
  6. To furnish (a canal) with locks.
  7. To raise or lower (a boat) in a lock.
  • (to fasten with a lock; to be capable of becoming fasteneed in place): unlock
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Old English locc. Cognate with Old Norse lokkr (whence Danish lok), German Locke. It has been theorised that the word may be related to the Gothic verb 𐌻𐌿𐌺𐌰𐌽 (lukan, to shut) in its ancient meaning to curb.


lock (plural locks)

  1. tuft or length of hair
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Chapter XXI
      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?
Derived terms[edit]





  1. Imperative singular of locken.
  2. (colloquial)First-person singular present of locken.


log cabin (bottom floor) with board panel (top floor) with thinner, protruding "cover" boards (lock 4), giving the upper wall a striped appearance.



lock c, n

  1. a lock of hair
  2. a cover, a lid
  3. popping (as when ears pop)[1]
    lock för örat.
    Be deafened.
  4. a (thin) board that covers the gap between panel boards
  5. call, lure (uninflected, from the verb locka)
    med lock och pock


Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

  • Få lock för örat: be deafened. When you have bad hearing from the change in air pressure due to an air plane flight. So it’s sort of like having a casserole cover in your ear [2]


  1. ^ Grief Gondola, #2 by Tomas Tranströmer, verse VI
  2. ^ [1]