Definition of “unlock” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“unlock” in British English

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unlockverb [ T ]

uk /ʌnˈlɒk/ us /ʌnˈlɑːk/

B2 to open something, especially a door that is locked (= fastened with a lock) using a key or an electronic device:

I think I left the garage door unlocked.

to enter a password or number in order to be able to use a mobile phone:

You need to know the secret PIN to unlock your mobile phone upon power up.

to make a mobile phone able to be used on any mobile phone network:

Once your phone is unlocked, you can buy and change SIM cards as you travel.
unlock the mystery/secret of sth

to discover important new facts about something:

A chemical has been discovered that may be the key to unlocking the mysteries of Parkinson's disease.
unlock the imagination

to make the imagination more active, producing interesting ideas and images:

One of poetry's functions is to unlock the imagination.

More examples

  • Having my car stolen really taught me a lesson - I'll never leave it unlocked again.
  • Leaving your house unlocked is an open invitation to burglars.

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

“unlock” in American English

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unlockverb [ T ]

us /ʌnˈlɑk/

to open a lock using a key, an electronic device, or a series of numbers or letters:

Could you unlock the door for me?

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

“unlock” in Business English

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unlockverb [ T ]

uk /ʌnˈlɒk/ us FINANCE

to make something available to be used in order to increase its value or to make a profit from it:

If we do not unlock the value of this business, someone else will.
The demerger will unlock shareholder value by allowing the two companies to be valued separately.
Equity release schemes are a safe and straightforward way of unlocking the cash from your home.

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