match·​lock ˈmach-ˌläk How to pronounce matchlock (audio)
: a slow-burning match lowered over a hole in the breech of a musket to ignite the charge
: a musket equipped with a matchlock

Examples of matchlock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Guns are a part of American life, and have been since the very beginning, from the matchlock muskets arming the earliest colonies to the Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles of the Old West to the Glock handgun of today. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2018 Also known Hwaseong-Chong (a matchlock gun), the SA-16 is likely meant to offset the advantage South Korean and American forces have in tactical airpower. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 4 Apr. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'matchlock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1637, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of matchlock was circa 1637

Dictionary Entries Near matchlock

Cite this Entry

“Matchlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


match·​lock ˈmach-ˌläk How to pronounce matchlock (audio)
: a firearm in which the charge is ignited by a slow match in a movable holder attached to the breech

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