lock·​down | \ ˈläk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce lockdown (audio) \

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

The Monday morning shooting caused the hospital to go on lockdown. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Police: Jilted lover opened fire outside Baltimore hospital," 5 Feb. 2019 In what may have been an omen for the utterly stupid catastrophe that was to follow, around 1:15 p.m. a man jumped the White House gate, prompting a lockdown. Olivia Nuzzi, Daily Intelligencer, "Inside the Disastrous White House Briefing on Trump’s Child Separation Policy," 19 June 2018 Police said that Schneider Elementary School at 304 Banbury Road, a few blocks from the site of the shooting, was temporarily placed on a soft lockdown as a precautionary measure. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "North Aurora police increase patrols after shooting near Schneider Elementary on Monday," 15 May 2018 More than 4 million children endured lockdowns last school year. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 Building closures and school lockdowns in Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Mass email hoax causes closures across the US and Canada," 13 Dec. 2018 The teenager and three other suspects, all juveniles, ran off and prompted a manhunt that led to an hours-long lockdown of nearby schools, with nearly 2,000 children inside. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Rodricks: Failure in the city, death in the county," 22 May 2018 Part of one building at the sprawling hospital has been evacuated and the rest is under lockdown. Fox News, "Latest: Police say no shots fired in hospital disturbance," 12 Sep. 2018 When it was learned that Vacher was at the school, officials advised school staff that the building go under lockdown as a precaution, police said. Andrew Grant, BostonGlobe.com, "Braintree parent faces charges after bringing gun to elementary school," 19 May 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

26 Feb 2019

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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 How to pronounce lockdown (audio) \

Legal Definition of lockdown

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lockdown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lockdown

Nglish: Translation of lockdown for Spanish Speakers

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).


an enemy or opponent

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