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death +‎ lock


deathlock (plural deathlocks)

  1. (sports) A certain wrestling move that traps the opponent's leg.
  2. Synonym of death grip
    1. A close struggle between two opponents in which each tries to kill the other.
      • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick: Or the Whale:
        When close to the whale, in the very deathlock of the fight, he handled his unpitying lance coolly and offhandedly, as a whistling tinker his hammer.
      • 1855, Israel Potter: his fifty years of exile, page 125:
        In a word, luck — that's the word — shortly threw in Paul's way the great action of his life : the most extraordinary of all naval engagements ; the unparalleled deathlock with the Serapis.
      • 1894, St. Nicholas - Volume 21, Part 2, page 658:
        The wasp, who had apparently been playing possum, suddenly became very much alive, and in a flash spider and wasp were clasped in a deathlock.
      • 1919, History's Greatest War: A Pictorial Narrative:
        The fighting was the most violent of the war, and along the whole line, plunging forward after intense artillery preparation, the Americans and French met the Germans in the deathlock of hand-to-hand fighting.
    2. (figurative) A struggle to destroy a force or principle to which one is opposed, or between two mutually incompatible principles.
      • 1852, The United States Democratic Review - Volume 30, page 411:
        The struggle of Europe, coming, as well as past, is a final struggle of opposite principles; it is the deathlock between self-government and slavery.
      • 1983, Kent Forrester, Jerry A. Herndon, The Freshman Reader: Essays and Casebook, →ISBN, page 193:
        He wrote about us as if we were all Prometheuses in noble deathlock with the forces of repression in a battle for the soul of man.
      • 1993, Gordon Barlow Dodds, Varieties of hope: an anthology of Oregon prose, page 253:
        In our time a great struggle, which may very well be a deathlock struggle, is going on in the world between freedom on the one hand and the totalitarianism of communism on the other.
      • 1996, Hal Alpiar, Doctor Shopping: How to Choose the Right Doctor for You and Your Family, →ISBN:
        The traditional medical establishment, led by the conservative American Medical Association (AMA), has long engaged the chiropractic community in what has been reported (by many disgruntled Chiropractors) as a "heavily funded," "deathlock-type of struggle" focused on "government lobbies, legal actions and media manipulations" to attempt to discredit and disavow chiropractic legitimacy.
    3. Rigor mortis, or a physical grip that is similarly inflexible and unyielding.
      • 1936, Field and Stream - Volume 41, page 43:
        "Don't believe the fellow who tells you to hold your shotgun in a deathlock-tight grip — so that it won't kick you.
      • 1988, Jake Logan, Sixgun law, →ISBN, page 144:
        Slocum eased the hammer back down as Harding twitched one last time and his eyes remained fixed in a deathlock.
      • 2010, S.M. Stirling, The Sky People, →ISBN:
        The animal fell backward, its talons in a deathlock on the sill of the empty window frame.
      • 2014, Louis J. Parascandola, John Parascandola, A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion, →ISBN, page 19:
        Elmer Blaney Harris eloquently captures the feel of the Bowery in 1906: Bands, orchestras, pianos, at war with gramophones, hand-organs, calliopes; overhead, a roar of wheels in a deathlock with shrieks and screams; whistles, gongs, rifles all busy, the smell of candy, popcorn, meats, beer, tobacco, blended with the odor of the crowd redolent now and ten of patchouli; a streaming river of people arched over by electric signs -- this is the Bowery at Coney Island.
    4. (figurative) A similarly tight hold on something nonphysical.
      • 1968, Arbutus, page 56:
        But so, it seems, is the problem. The furor instigated by the war in Vietnam was projected into fraternity bull sessions and Ballantine coffee breaks. The trouble was that nobody, not even Rusk or Zinn, had a deathlock on accurate information.
      • 1989, Manabendra Nath Roy, The Radical Humanist - Volume 53, page 21:
        The colonial links, broken by the spate of independence movements of the recent past, have been once again reestablished-albeit on a firmer footing-with the First World enjoying a deathlock on the fragile economies of the Third World.
      • 1996, WID Working Papers, page xxiv:
        Efforts are also being directed against the international financial institutions that are holding underdeveloped countries in the deathlock debt grip.
      • 2009, Peter Hartcher, To the Bitter End, →ISBN:
        But just now, Howard was seriously considering relaxing his deathlock on the leadership.
      • 2014, Joe R. Jones, A Lover's Quarrel: A Theologian and His Beloved Church, →ISBN:
        But even as we troubled souls feel the deathlock of disagreements profound and if we can avoid sheer cynicism, it seems almost impossible to retain clarity about fundamental principles and diagnostic politics.

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