dead·​lock ˈded-ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a state of inaction or neutralization resulting from the opposition of equally powerful uncompromising persons or factions : standstill
the deadlock was broken with a key compromise
: a tie score
deadlock verb

Examples of deadlock in a Sentence

City councilors reached a deadlock over the law. His goal broke a 3–3 deadlock.
Recent Examples on the Web The Founders’ vision of governmental checks and balances has degenerated into a deadlock machine. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Since President Joe Biden took office, the Senate has held four confirmation hearings for two separate nominees to break the ongoing deadlock at the Federal Communications Commission. Makena Kelly, The Verge, 23 June 2023 Even with the current political deadlock resolved for now, Srettha, 60, faces the immense challenge of meeting the demands of an electorate that voted for change and is now disillusioned with his party, which once actively campaigned against the military junta but is now working with it. Muktita Suhartono,, 22 Aug. 2023 The disagreement resulted in a deadlock in June when Wolfe's term expired, or no action on Wolfe's reappointment. Molly Beck, Journal Sentinel, 17 Aug. 2023 Indeed, the timing of the downgrade may seem puzzling given that the U.S. isn't currently in a political deadlock over spending, as lawmakers were during debt ceiling negotiations earlier this year, or facing another imminent crisis. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 2 Aug. 2023 The deadlock between House Republicans and the Biden administration is leading some economists to call for unorthodox alternatives to avoid economic chaos. Alan Murray, Fortune, 8 May 2023 But the deal was struck after months of deadlock on Capitol Hill that threatened to hurl the country into default, highlighting the unproductive brinkmanship that underlies debt negotiations in Congress. Eva Rothenberg, CNN, 6 Aug. 2023 The compromise ends a deadlock over property taxes in the summer’s second special legislative session. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, 10 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deadlock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadlock was in 1779

Dictionary Entries Near deadlock

Cite this Entry

“Deadlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dead·​lock -ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a stopping of action because both sides in a struggle are equally powerful and neither will give in
deadlock verb

Legal Definition


dead·​lock ˈded-ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a state of inaction resulting from the opposition of equally powerful uncompromising persons or factions: as
: the state of a jury unable to agree on a verdict see also allen charge
: a state in which corporate directors are unable to perform their functions because of shareholder voting
deadlock verb

More from Merriam-Webster on deadlock

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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