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
2a : 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
b : a temporary condition imposed by governmental authorities (as during the outbreak of an epidemic disease) in which people are required to stay in their homes and refrain from or limit activities outside the home involving public contact (such as dining out or attending large gatherings) Authorities placed the central Chinese city under lockdown on Jan. 23 after the virus had infected hundreds of residents and was just starting its spread across the globe.— Darryl Coote The San Francisco Bay Area lockdown and national guidelines signal a rapid escalation of government and business efforts to halt the coronavirus spread via restrictions that will slam the brakes on economic activity.— Ed Carson

Note: Individuals who are employed in various occupational fields (such as healthcare, public works, law enforcement, and food supply) considered essential to public health and safety may continue working outside the home during a lockdown.

Examples of lockdown in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Which is one reason the concert drought that followed the lockdown that began 16 months ago has been so agonizing: for performers, for venues, for support staff, for audiences. BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2021 Some 3,500 people protested Saturday in Sydney after New South Wales tightened its regulations last week in response to rising coronavirus cases, even as the city’s lockdown enters its fifth week. Washington Post, 25 July 2021 The French government wants to speed up vaccinations to protect vulnerable people and hospitals, and avoid any new lockdown. Fox News, 25 July 2021 With all the lockdowns, with the -- the biggest lockdown, probably New York and New Jersey were the biggest ones to lock down. ABC News, 25 July 2021 Terrell Garner, 41, a contractor who works in construction, blames the stress of the pandemic lockdown that confined many to their homes, sometimes in difficult situations. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 25 July 2021 England is the only UK nation to have made the leap to leave lockdown. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 24 July 2021 In addition, Ross created a makeshift court in her backyard during a time when the world was in lockdown and quarantine. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, 24 July 2021 The median price of a single-family home reached a record $295,000 as home buying in Houston ramped up post-COVID-19 lockdown, up 17.6 percent from April 2020. Shacamree Gowdy, Chron, 23 July 2021

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 at sense 1

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Time Traveler for lockdown

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The first known use of lockdown was in 1973

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Statistics for lockdown

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lockdown.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lockdown. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of lockdown for Spanish Speakers


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