lock·​up | \ˈläk-ˌəp \

Definition of lockup 

1 : jail especially : a local jail where persons are detained prior to court hearing

2 : an act of locking : the state of being locked

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Synonyms for lockup


bastille, big house [slang], bridewell, brig, calaboose, can, clink [slang], cooler, coop, guardroom, hock, hold, hoosegow, jail, jailhouse, joint [slang], jug, nick [British slang], pen, penitentiary, pokey [slang], prison, quod [British slang], slam, slammer, stir [slang], stockade, tolbooth [Scottish]

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Examples of lockup in a Sentence

the firm conviction that juvenile offenders should never be held in adult lockups

Recent Examples on the Web

The agreement would overhaul conditions at the troubled Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls and establish policies for new juvenile lockups that are to be built in the coming years. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sweeping deal with teen inmates will see Wisconsin end use of pepper spray and restrict solitary at teen prisons," 1 June 2018 Other government agencies have also considered eliminating media lockups. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "U.S. Tries to Rein In High-Speed Trading in Farm Patch," 15 July 2018 From jail straight to the court By about 8 a.m. security for the team had been alerted that Brown was in lockup and he was allowed to pay his bail and leave. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'I gave in so they didn't pull out their guns.' Sterling Brown is still trying to make sense of his arrest.," 25 May 2018 Dante Fleming, 35, was found dead in his cell at the Markham lockup on June 23, 2018. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "State police investigating death of detainee at Markham lockup," 27 June 2018 On Tuesday, 77 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter from Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia seeking answers about the allegations of abuses at the lockup. Washington Post, "Honduran teen tells of abuse, isolation at detention center," 27 June 2018 Among those arrested Thursday was Morsello Hooker, a 31-year-old corrections officer at a rural West Texas lockup. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Texas youth prison workers arrested amid abuse investigation," 2 Feb. 2018 Demolition and replacement will take place in phases, with inmates relocated to other lockups around the county in the interim. Nina Agrawal, latimes.com, "L.A. County supervisors approve $2.2 billion to build replacement for Men's Central Jail," 19 June 2018 Its police department was under federal oversight for excessive use of force during arrests and lockups, until it was released from oversight in 2016. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Detroit Released from State Oversight," 30 Apr. 2018

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

1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for lockup

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lockup

The first known use of lockup was in 1746

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English Language Learners Definition of lockup

: a place where prisoners are kept

: a garage (sense 1) that is rented out


lock·​up | \ˈläk-ˌəp \

Kids Definition of lockup

: prison



Legal Definition of lockup 

1 : a cell or group of cells (as in a courthouse) or jail where persons are held prior to a court hearing — compare house of correction, house of detention, jail, penitentiary, prison

2 : the tactic of arranging with a friendly party an option to buy a valuable portion of one's corporate assets in order to discourage a takeover by another party

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More from Merriam-Webster on lockup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lockup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lockup

Spanish Central: Translation of lockup

Nglish: Translation of lockup for Spanish Speakers

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