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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of lockup in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

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 While in the lockup, his stature grew as a music-maker in absentia whose combative raps were the soundtrack of the national rise of the local sports teams the city so fiercely identifies with. Dan Deluca, Philly.com, "Why Meek Mill and the Sixers are made for each other," 27 Apr. 2018 He was booked in a sheriff's lockup and was scheduled to be in court Friday afternoon. Dennis Romero /, NBC News, "Ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow, Jr. arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping," 15 June 2018 Our own view is that voting-rights lockups are a mixed bag but public investors can choose not to live under them simply by not buying the stock. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "What CBS’s Boardroom Blood Feud Says About TV," 1 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of lockup

1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lockup

Statistics for lockup

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lockup

The first known use of lockup was in 1746

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lockup



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!