un·​lock | \ ˌən-ˈläk How to pronounce unlock (audio) \
unlocked; unlocking; unlocks

Definition of unlock

transitive verb

1 : to unfasten the lock of
2 : open, undo
3 : to free from restraints or restrictions the shock unlocked a flood of tears
4 : to furnish a key to : disclose

intransitive verb

: to become unfastened or freed from restraints

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Examples of unlock in a Sentence

Could you unlock the door for me? geneticists unlocking the secrets of DNA The material's potential was unlocked only through extensive testing. How can I unlock my computer if I've forgotten the password? This class will unlock your creativity.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Each track is deliberate and, in some way, unlocks information about what's to come on Game of Thrones' final season. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Game of Thrones Ending Is Hidden in This Playlist," 9 Apr. 2019 The belief that science and technology can unlock the secrets of immortality has a rich history in Russia. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "The Mystics Seeking Eternal Life Through Liquid Nitrogen," 22 June 2018 As for that whole handing-over-personal-data thing? Biometrics supporters point out that most consumers now freely share vast amounts of data online, and are accustomed to using biometric IDs to perform tasks like unlocking their phones. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Future of Biometrics at the Airport," 20 Sep. 2018 The devices store key data, like flight parameters and cockpit voice recordings, which investigators will unlock and read to help them determine the cause of the crash. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Crashed Ethiopian Jet’s Black Boxes to Be Probed for Clues to 737 MAX’s Safety," 14 Mar. 2019 As a torrential storm rolled through Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday night and Saturday morning, a minivan sat unlocked and running in a library parking lot. Jared Gilmour, kansascity, "Dad went home with woman from bar — leaving kids alone in his van overnight, Omaha cops say," 5 June 2018 Also check to see if there are windows near the doorknob; a thief could smash the window, reach in and unlock and open the door. Kenya Burrell-vanwormer, Houston Chronicle, "Keep safety in mind when buying a home," 29 Apr. 2018 If approved, individual assistance programs could provide grants for temporary housing, home repairs and unlock other resources to help individuals and Hoosier business owners, including loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Holcomb asks for federal disaster declaration from flooding," 1 May 2018 Shin said Vegas told him to leave the office unlocked and to meet an associate of his in Los Angeles. James Vlahos, GQ, "The Mystery of the Killer Vacation," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unlock.' 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 unlock

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for unlock

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unlock

The first known use of unlock was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for unlock



English Language Learners Definition of unlock

: to open the lock on (something)
: to find out about (something that was secret or unknown)
: to make (something) available for use


un·​lock | \ ˌən-ˈläk How to pronounce unlock (audio) \
unlocked; unlocking

Kids Definition of unlock

1 : to unfasten the lock of
2 : to make known Scientists are unlocking the secrets of nature.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unlock

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unlock

Spanish Central: Translation of unlock

Nglish: Translation of unlock for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unlock for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unlock

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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