lock up

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See also: lockup and lock-up


Alternative forms[edit]


lock + up


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

  1. (transitive) To imprison or incarcerate (someone).
    • 2020 July 23, Chris Daw, “'A stain on national life': why are we locking up so many children?'”, in The Guardian[1]:
      In 1970, a new era of “getting tough” on young offenders really began to gather momentum with the incoming Conservative government. The number of juveniles locked up each year increased by 500% between 1965 and 1980.
  2. (transitive) To invest in something long term.
  3. (intransitive) To close all doors and windows (of a place) securely.
  4. (intransitive, computing) To cease responding; to freeze.
    When I press this button, the program locks up.
  5. (transitive, computing) To cause (a program) to cease responding or to freeze.
    If your password contains a particular string of letters, entering it can lock up the login form.
  6. (intransitive, mechanics) To stop moving; to seize.
    1. (of a wheel) To stop spinning due to excessive braking torque.
  7. To lose one's forward momentum; to freeze.
  8. (intransitive, motor racing) To (mistakenly) cause or have one of one's wheels to lock up (stop spinning).
    • 2019 September 8, Andrew Benson, BBC Sport[2]:
      Twelve laps later, Leclerc locked up at the first chicane and clattered over the run-off area. Again, Hamilton got a run on him, and this time Leclerc defended robustly through the flat-out Curva Grande, moving very late to block Hamilton to the Ferrari's left.
  9. (intransitive, boating) To travel through a flight of locks on a waterway in an uphill direction.
    Antonym: lock down


Related terms[edit]