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

Across the district, officials are conducting lockdown drills, designating safer spaces in classrooms in the event of an attack and creating a single point of entry at schools to guard against intruders. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "A Year After Parkland: Making Sure to Say, ‘I Love You’ at Morning Drop-Off," 12 Feb. 2019 Attacks in Beni where our response command is based resulted in many civilian deaths & put our operations in lockdown. Julia Belluz, Vox, "An Ebola “perfect storm” is brewing in the Democratic Republic of Congo," 28 Sep. 2018 Plainfield High School was temporarily put in lockdown Tuesday when a male youth entered the school with a BB gun tucked into his waistband, police said. Ruth Bruno, courant.com, "Plainfield High School Put In Lockdown; Student Brought BB Gun," 5 June 2018 Andrew Froelich, Flores’ attorney, said Wednesday that his client has been in lockdown — alone in a cell — for 23 hours a day since the fight. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Witness jailed for more than five months," 31 May 2018 The school was briefly placed in lockdown as a precaution, the release stated. Adam Sennott, BostonGlobe.com, "Gun found in parent’s backpack at Braintree elementary school," 18 May 2018 About gnawing hunger, cold and feeling homeless during four months in lockdown. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "What’s wrong with Titus Young? L.A. Times traces ex-Boise State star’s bizarre descent," 30 Jan. 2018 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

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

7 May 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

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