lock·​up | \ ˈläk-ˌəp How to pronounce lockup (audio) \

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

Texas Austin: The latest state review of juvenile lockups shows no apparent improvement in operations, as inspectors found teenagers shouting obscenities at guards, little supervision, assaults and severe understaffing. USA TODAY, "Roller coaster ghost town, Alaska heat, rock hyrax pups: News from around our 50 states," 8 July 2019 He was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan. Washington Post, "The Latest: Victims speak out after Jeffrey Epstein charged," 8 July 2019 He was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan. Jim Mustian, Twin Cities, "Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with molesting dozens of girls," 8 July 2019 He was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan. Michael R. Sisak, Anchorage Daily News, "Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with molesting dozens of girls," 8 July 2019 He was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan. orlandosentinel.com, "New sex charges filed against Jeffrey Epstein as nude photos allegedly found," 8 July 2019 Stocks of private prison firms dropped precipitously in 2016 when the Obama Justice Department unveiled its plan to end the use of private lockups. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Democratic candidates vow to ban private prisons and detention centers," 21 June 2019 Since then, Fotis Dulos has been dumped by his divorce attorney, his live-in girlfriend posted bail, is out of lockup and spent three hours on Thursday talking with detectives at her lawyer Andrew Bowman's Westport office. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Connecticut cops face new deadline as they try to crack case of missing mom Jennifer Dulos," 9 June 2019 The council also discussed the number of juveniles locked up in the city’s adult jail, the Orleans Justice Center, because its juvenile lockup, the Youth Study Center, ran out of beds. Kevin Litten, nola.com, "City Council questions Cantrell’s ‘tough love’ approach to juvenile justice," 27 June 2019

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

17 Jul 2019

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
British : a garage (sense 1) that is rented out


lock·​up | \ ˈläk-ˌəp How to pronounce lockup (audio) \

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

Comments on lockup

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


to complain fretfully

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