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

Taken together, the deaths underscore ‘‘serious issues surrounding a lack of leadership’’ within the BOP, said Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who ran three federal lockups, including the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Larry Neumeister, BostonGlobe.com, "Federal New York jail draws new scrutiny in Epstein death," 12 Aug. 2019 That document signaled that the lockup would begin by the end of June, or else the paperwork would become ineffective, according to people familiar with the matter. Theodore Schleifer, Vox, "Plus: Postmates has explored a sale to companies like DoorDash and Walmart.," 12 July 2019 But what happened to Mr. Palmer during two days in solitary confinement at the Pennsylvania lockup remains a mystery. New York Times, "A Prison Death, a Mysterious Autopsy and Official Silence," 18 June 2019 She was released from the county lockup on Aug. 16 after posting $100,000 bond. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "2nd suspect charged in robbery, murder of young Birmingham father-to-be," 21 Aug. 2019 Except for the fact that both men reportedly committed suicide in the federal lockup, Scarpelli years ago, in 1989 in Chicago, and Epstein just the other day in New York. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Jeffrey Epstein, the Chicago hit man and the need for conspiracy theories," 14 Aug. 2019 The cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the lockup said Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. sun-sentinel.com, "Jeffrey Epstein’s accuser sues as questions swirl about sex offender’s death," 14 Aug. 2019 The federal Bureau of Prisons, which oversees federal lockups, did not respond to a request for more recent data on suicides in its facilities. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, "Epstein death draws attention to how little is known about prison suicides," 13 Aug. 2019 Bonilla reportedly failed to smuggle drugs into the lockup. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California," 20 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

11 Sep 2019

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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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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