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

Evers changed a part of the budget affecting new lockups that are meant to replace Lincoln Hills School for Boys, the troubled juvenile prison north of Wausau that officials plan to close in 2021. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers uses his vast veto power to raise school spending another $65 million, wipe out Tesla provision," 3 July 2019 During the Obama administration, Oklahoma’s Republican leaders opposed lockups such as Ft. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Japanese internment camp survivors protest Ft. Sill migrant detention center," 22 June 2019 The new jail would have 166 mental health beds compared with 24 beds in the current lockup, according to a schematic design overview in the board packet. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Macomb County taxpayers may spend 21 years paying for new jail," 19 June 2019 Bureau of Prisons records show Manafort was being held Tuesday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal lockup in Manhattan. Michael R. Sisak, BostonGlobe.com, "Manafort to remain in federal custody," 18 June 2019 Former state officials who helped craft the realignment law said California’s worst county lockups were, for the most part, supposed to have been overhauled or replaced by now. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California," 20 July 2019 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

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

14 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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