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 Through quarantines and targeted lockdowns, U.S. authorities have so far managed to keep the virus from spreading on the American mainland. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "How coronavirus is worsening U.S.-China tensions," 18 Feb. 2020 At the outbreak's epicenter in the central province of Hubei, cities with a combined population of more than 60 million have been placed under lockdown, with outbound transportation halted and virtually all public activities suspended. Yanan Wang, Anchorage Daily News, "China reports major drop in new virus cases, 143 new deaths," 15 Feb. 2020 Over 80 cities are on lockdown, with public transit and travel highly restricted. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "The coronavirus is hitting the Chinese economy at the worst time," 12 Feb. 2020 In Texas, school districts are required by state law to hold several types of emergency drills a year, including lockdowns, fire evacuations and for sheltering-in-place for hazmat scenarios or severe weather. Ashley Mcbride, ExpressNews.com, "Teacher unions say active shooter drills can traumatize students," 11 Feb. 2020 The hospital where my grandpa was being treated was on lockdown, as were the apartment complexes that housed my father’s side of the family. Connie Wang, refinery29.com, "Closeness In The Age Of Coronavirus," 10 Feb. 2020 The final raid occurred as officials seemed to be in lockdown, tense, refusing to answer questions from reporters. Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Do Not Make Any Loud Noises’: A Thai Soldier’s 18-Hour Shooting Rampage," 9 Feb. 2020 Wuhan, the region in Hubei province where the virus is thought to have originated, is on virtual lockdown, with Chinese authorities ordering nearly 50 million people to limit their movements. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Their offices closed by coronavirus, China's workers swamp chat and video-conference tools," 6 Feb. 2020 The province has been in virtual lockdown, and international news has shown quiet, empty streets and residents staying distracted with television and food delivery. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky teacher caught in Chinese 'ghost town' amid coronavirus outbreak," 5 Feb. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of lockdown was in 1973

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Statistics for lockdown

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lockdown.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lockdown. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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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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