Words related to lock

reluctance (n.)

1640s, "act of struggling against;" 1660s, "unwillingness, aversion;" from the obsolete verb reluct "to strive, struggle, or rebel against" (15c.), from Latin reluctari, reluctare "to struggle against, resist, make opposition," from re- "back, against, in opposition" (see re-) + luctari "to struggle, wrestle," from Proto-Italic *lukto-, from PIE *lug-to- "bent" (source also of Old Irish foloing "supports," inloing "connects;" Middle Welsh ellwng- "to set free;" Greek lygos "withy, pliant twig," lygizein "to bend, twist;" Gothic galukan "to shut," uslukan "to open;" Old English locc "twist of hair."

Related: Reluctancy (1620s.); Bacon (1605) has reluctation.

dreadlocks (n.)

"rope-like strands of hair formed by matting or braiding," 1960, from dread (adj.) + locks (see lock (n.2)). The style is said to be based on that of East African warriors. So called from the dread they presumably aroused in beholders, but Rastafarian dread (1974) also has a sense of "fear of the Lord," expressed in part as alienation from contemporary society.

forelock (n.)

"lock of hair growing above the forehead," Old English forelocca "forelock;" see fore- + lock (n.2).

"Opportunity has hair in front, behind she is bald; if you seize her by the forelock, you may hold her; but, if she once escapes, not Jupiter himself can catch her again." ["Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Proverbs, Maxims and Mottos," H.T. Riley, London, 1866]
Goldilocks (n.)

name for a person with bright yellow hair, 1540s, from goldy (adj.) "of a golden color" (mid-15c., from gold (n.)) + plural of lock (n.2). The story of the Three Bears first was printed in Robert Southey's miscellany "The Doctor" (1837), but the central figure there was a bad-tempered old woman. Southey did not claim to have invented the story, and older versions have been traced, either involving an old woman or a "silver-haired" girl (though in at least one version it is a fox who enters the house). The identification of the girl as Goldilocks is attested from c. 1875. Goldylocks also is attested from 1570s as a name for the buttercup.


masc. proper name, literally "fair-haired," from Old English scir "bright" (see sheer (adj.)) + locc "lock of hair" (see lock (n.2)). Slang for "private detective, perceptive person" (the latter often ironic) is attested by 1903, from A.C. Doyle's fictional character Sherlock Holmes (the character's full name in this sense was so used from 1896; Holmes debuted in 1887 and was popular by 1892).

interlock (v.)

1630s, "to be locked together," from inter- "between" + lock (v.). Related: Interlocked; interlocking. As a noun, attested by 1856.

landlocked (adj.)

also land-locked, "almost shut in by land," 1620s, from land (n.) + past participle of lock (v.).

lockable (adj.)

1832, from lock (v.) + -able. Related: Lockability.

lockdown (n.)

also lock-down, from late 19c. in various mechanical senses, from the verbal phrase; see lock (v.) + down (adv.). Prison sense is by 1975, American English.

locker (n.)

"small chest that can be locked," late 14c., agent noun from Middle English lokken (see lock (v.)). Especially for individual use in companies of men, as on shipboard or in military regiments. As a characteristic of high school life, 20c. Earlier the word meant "a mechanism for locking" (early 14c.).