grid·lock | \ˈgrid-ˌläk \

Definition of gridlock 

1 : a traffic jam in which a grid of intersecting streets is so completely congested that no vehicular movement is possible

2 : a situation resembling gridlock (as in congestion or lack of movement) political gridlock

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Other Words from gridlock

gridlock transitive verb

Examples of gridlock in a Sentence

An accident caused gridlock at rush hour yesterday. We were caught in a gridlock. Disagreements about funding have caused legislative gridlock in Congress.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Traffic gridlock and smoke and flames on both sides of the highway prompted some travelers to try to turn around and drive away from the fire along the shoulder, according to a video shared on Twitter. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Fire that shut down I-580 at Altamont Pass now contained," 9 July 2018 By comparing historic traffic data against several economic markers, the authors found virtually no indication that gridlock stalled commerce. Nick Stockton, WIRED, "Traffic Doesn’t Hurt the Economy—But We Should Still Fix It," 26 June 2018 Its trailer blocked three lanes of traffic for much of the morning, causing near-gridlock conditions back to Pines Boulevard. Wayne K. Roustan And Doug Phillips,, "Two-truck collision snarls Tuesday commute on I-75," 1 May 2018 This alleviates the potential of gridlock on Eugene's streets and what almost certainly would be hotel crisis. Ken Goe,, "IAAF doesn't seem interested in marketing track to U.S. fans: Oregon track & field rundown," 8 Mar. 2018 Musk founded the company in the hope of alleviating city gridlock by building more tunnels, an endeavor that has set the company's engineers toward improving tunneling techniques. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Chicago selects Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build express line from O‘Hare," 14 June 2018 All Chugiak and Eagle River school sessions were delayed Thursday morning as buses and staff struggled to get through the gridlock, according to the Anchorage School District. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Drivers endure epic traffic jam on Glenn Highway detour around bridge damaged by truck," 22 Mar. 2018 And if nothing major changes by then, near-constant gridlock driven by the population boom will bog down what is already one of Texas’ most congested highway corridors. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio-Austin MPOs working to ready I-35 for population boom," 5 July 2018 The group includes Iowans who are fed up with the federal government, tired of gridlock in Congress and distrusting of the major political parties. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Trump team cannot get its story straight on separating migrant families," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gridlock.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gridlock

1980, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for gridlock

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gridlock

The first known use of gridlock was in 1980

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More Definitions for gridlock



English Language Learners Definition of gridlock

: a situation in which streets are so full that vehicles cannot move

: a situation in which no progress can be made

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Comments on gridlock

What made you want to look up gridlock? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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