lock·​jaw | \ ˈläk-ˌjȯ \

Definition of lockjaw

: an early symptom of tetanus characterized by spasm of the jaw muscles and inability to open the jaws also : tetanus

Examples of lockjaw in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Has this crazy weather given the fish lockjaw in your favorite area? Todd Masson, NOLA.com, "Blasting speckled trout while shooting national TV show," 11 Apr. 2018 The website also includes signs once used to warn people of diseases such as whooping cough and a set of forceps used to force open the jaws of people with tetanus, or lockjaw. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "A fascinating look at antibody-based technology. Really.," 29 Oct. 2017 The trout bite slowed last week, but that may have more to do with anglers still looking for where the fish are concentrated than a case of lockjaw. Sacbee, sacbee.com, "Fishing report: Week of May 29," 30 May 2017

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

1768, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lockjaw

The first known use of lockjaw was in 1768

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More Definitions for lockjaw


lock·​jaw | \ ˈläk-ˌjȯ \

Kids Definition of lockjaw


lock·​jaw | \ ˈläk-ˌjȯ \

Medical Definition of lockjaw

: an early symptom of tetanus characterized by spasm of the jaw muscles and inability to open the jaws also : tetanus sense 1a

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More from Merriam-Webster on lockjaw

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lockjaw

Spanish Central: Translation of lockjaw

Nglish: Translation of lockjaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lockjaw for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lockjaw

Comments on lockjaw

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


to gather or build up little by little

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