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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *forelock, *forelok, from Old English forelocc, equivalent to fore- +‎ lock.


forelock (plural forelocks)

  1. The part of a person's hairstyle which covers the forehead.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IV”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 300-303:
      His fair large front and eye sublime declared / Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks / Round from his parted forelock manly hung / Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
    • 1734, The Koran: Commonly Called the Alkoran of Mohammed, translated by George Sale, Sura 96, Congealed Blood, [1]
      Doth he not know that GOD seeth? / Assuredly. Verily, if he forbear not, we will drag him by the forelock, / the lying, sinful forelock. / And let him call his council to assistance: / we also will call the infernal guards to cast him into hell.
    • 1896, A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad[2], section XXXVIII:
      Warm with the blood of lads I know / Comes east the sighing air. / / It fanned their temples, filled their lungs, / Scattered their forelocks free;
    • 1978, Edmund White, chapter VIII, in Nocturnes for the King of Naples, New York: St. Martin's Press, page 135:
      This little boy, still flicking his head to one side between sentences though the long blond forelock that once excused the tic had been cut []
  2. The part of a horse's (or similar animal's) mane that lies on its forehead.
    • 1898, Ivan Turgenev, translated by Constance Garnett, A Lear of the Steppes and Other Stories[3], New York: Macmillan, page 146:
      [] the gates themselves slowly parted, there appeared a large horse's head, with a plaited forelock under a decorated yoke, and slowly there rolled into the road a small cart, like those driven by horse-dealers, and higglers.
    • 1945, George Orwell, chapter 5, in Animal Farm[4]:
      Even Boxer was vaguely troubled. He set his ears back, shook his forelock several times, and tried hard to marshal his thoughts; but in the end he could not think of anything to say.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English forelok, equivalent to fore- +‎ lock.


forelock (plural forelocks)

  1. A wedge pushed through a hole at the end of a bolt to hold it in place.


forelock (third-person singular simple present forelocks, present participle forelocking, simple past and past participle forelocked)

  1. To fix in place with a forelock (wedge)
    • 1835, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 14, in The Monikins[5]:
      At one extremity each pair was firmly connected by a short, massive, iron link, of about two feet in length; and, at its opposite end, a large eye-bolt was driven into each stick, where it was securely forelocked.