Meaning of “lock” in the English Dictionary

"lock" in British English

See all translations

locknoun

uk /lɒk/ us /lɑːk/

lock noun (FASTENER)

B1 [ C ] a device that prevents something such as a door from being opened and can only be opened with a key:

I heard someone turn a key in the lock.
safety locks
Thieves got in by smashing the lock off the door.
See also

More examples

  • My dad's such a cheapskate that he cuts his hair himself.
  • She eased the key into the lock, anxious not to wake anyone.
  • If the lock has frozen up, try lubricating it with oil.
  • If the door won't open, try jiggling the key in the lock.
  • I could see at once that the lock had been tampered with.

lockverb

uk /lɒk/ us /lɑːk/

lock verb (MAKE SAFE)

B2 [ T usually + adv/prep ] to put something in a safe place and fasten the lock:

He locked the confidential documents in his filing cabinet.
You really should lock your car (up) or it'll get stolen.

B1 [ I or T ] to fasten something with a key, or be fastened with a key:

Don't forget to lock the door when you go out.
If you shut the door it will lock automatically.

More examples

  • Oh, and don't forget to lock the back door.
  • Some prize idiot forgot to lock the door.
  • "Come on, hurry up!" "I'll just/only be a second - I've got to lock the back door."
  • If you don't lock your doors and windows, you'll be a sitting target for burglars.
  • I'd only gone a few steps down the road when I realized I'd forgotten to lock the door.

(Definition of “lock” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"lock" in American English

See all translations

locknoun [ C ]

us /lɑk/

lock noun [ C ] (DEVICE TO FASTEN)

a device that keeps something, such as a door or drawer, fastened, usually needing a key to open it

lock noun [ C ] (WATER)

a length of water with gates at either end where the level of water can be changed to allow boats to move between parts of a canal or river that are at different heights

lock noun [ C ] (HAIR)

a curl of hair, or a group of hairs

lockverb [ I/T ]

us /lɑk/

lock verb [ I/T ] (NOT ALLOW CHANGE)

to be or hold something in a position or condition where movement, escape, or change is not possible:

[ T ] They’re locked in a lawsuit with their former employer.
[ I ] The cars crashed and the bumpers locked, making it impossible to move.
[ M ] The bank won’t lock in our mortgage rate.

lock verb [ I/T ] (FASTEN)

If you lock something somewhere, you make it safe by putting it in a special place and fastening it closed with a lock:

[ T ] He locked the documents in his filing cabinet.

(Definition of “lock” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"lock" in Business English

See all translations

lockverb

uk /lɒk/ us
lock horns (with sb)

to become involved in a disagreement or argument with someone:

My first test as a manager early in my career was locking horns with a union representative at a print factory.
lock horns (with sb) over sth The White House and Congress locked horns over how to cut the budget deficit.

(Definition of “lock” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)