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 Hultin learned that Onfido had created a way for users to upload a serology test to a private server and use facial biometric data to unlock the data and display the results. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "Immunity Passports and the Perils of Conferring Coronavirus Status," 22 May 2020 Military trainees get closer look:Pentagon to restrict, monitor foreign trainees to prevent repeat of Pensacola Navy base shooting Justice v. Apple:DOJ says Apple hasn't helped unlock Pensacola shooter's iPhones. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Feds connect al Qaeda contacts to deadly Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting," 18 May 2020 Use your Nook Miles and the NookStop to unlock the maximum inventory capacity of 40 item slots to get more room in your pockets. Louryn Strampe, Wired, "22 Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Tips to Up Your Island Game," 3 May 2020 Barlow used his fingerprint to unlock his cellphone for agents and admitted that various email addresses associated with the online storage account were his, the affidavit states. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Akron sex offender faces federal child pornography charges," 11 Apr. 2020 Back in Tarrytown, Regeneron scientists copy-pasted it into genome analysis software and began poring over the sequence in search of the key that 2019-nCoV uses to unlock and infect human cells. Damian Garde, STAT, "In the race to develop a coronavirus treatment, Regeneron thinks it has the inside track," 5 Feb. 2020 The robots can be tracked in real-time on an interactive map through the Starship Deliveries app, which students must use to unlock the robot once their food arrives. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "UH makes history as first Texas university to offer food delivery robots," 11 Nov. 2019 Laser scans aren’t the only technology being used to unlock Scotland's past either. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Lasers Help Scientists Spot 900 New Archaeological Sites on Scotland’s Isle of Arran," 15 Oct. 2019 Banks might get a boost in the coming months after the United Arab Emirates cut required reserves for demand deposits, and unlocked more stimulus to support lending. Archana Narayanan, Bloomberg.com, "Dubai’s Biggest Bank Books Record Provisions on Virus Impact," 8 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for unlock

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unlock

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unlock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlock. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for unlock


How to pronounce unlock (audio)

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

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