lock·down | \ˈläk-ˌdau̇n \

Definition of lockdown 

1 : the confinement of prisoners to their cells for all or most of the day as a temporary security measure

2 : an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building (such as a school) during a threat of danger … the school went on lockdown when a student brought a pellet gun to campus.— Ian Gordon

Examples of lockdown in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

From tricky watercolor designs to rainbow gradients to glitter fades—they’ve got it all on lockdown. Marielle Wakim, Los Angeles Magazine, "These L.A. Nail Artists Will Make All Your Wildest Nail Dreams Come True," 26 Apr. 2018 Grace Kinsey, Lake Zurich, senior, guard: A lockdown defender, Kinsey handled a selfless role that wasn't reflected in the box score. Bob Narang, Lake County News-Sun, "Announcing the 2017-18 News-Sun Girls Basketball All-Area Team," 20 Mar. 2018 McClatchy High School in Sacramento held a lockdown drill Thursday, a day after a mass shooting at a Florida high school 17 people dead. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Parent shares 'insane' lockdown nursery rhyme posted in Kindergarten classroom," 7 June 2018 Since Columbine, 32 states have passed laws requiring schools to conduct lockdown drills or some form of emergency drill to keep students safe from intruders. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "America’s gun problem, in one disturbing nursery rhyme," 7 June 2018 While not all schools hold discussions about gun violence, nearly all hold lockdown drills, in which students clear the halls, hunker down in classrooms and are told to remain silent. NBC News, "Amid fear of shootings, parents and students count down till school's out for summer," 31 May 2018 Another drill involved 4 and 5-year-olds, who didn't know there was going to be a lockdown drill. Adriana Diaz, CBS News, "Active shooter drills for preschool teachers a new normal for schools," 29 May 2018 Santa Fe High School had practiced shooter lockdown drills. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Ten Killed in Texas School Shooting," 18 May 2018 How many parents have cried over their kids’ lockdown drills at school? San Francisco Chronicle, "We can only imagine a life without the threat of gunfire," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lockdown.' 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 lockdown

1973, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for lockdown

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for lockdown

The first known use of lockdown was in 1973

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More Definitions for lockdown


lock·down | \ˈläk-ˌdau̇n \

Legal Definition of lockdown 

: the confinement of prisoners to their cells for a temporary period as a security measure

Comments on lockdown

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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