unlock

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Become a member to keep reading this story and unlock unlimited access to all of Quartz. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "An insider’s view of the CBD boom," 20 June 2019 Hines added that cloud gaming can unlock potential gamer populations developing countries around the world, where infrastructure issues may be holding the field back. Shannon Liao, CNN, "Streaming gaming will change the video game industry. Here's why," 18 June 2019 For unlocking the secret of this treasure, Manuel Fortin gets his pick of treasure, either a Quanta T-shirt or one of Quanta’s two new books: Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire or The Prime Number Conspiracy. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘How to Find Simple Treasures in Complex Numbers’," 22 Mar. 2019 So to stop retailers from mass unlocking and modifying consumer devices, some companies require a code or PC program to unlock a bootloader, sometimes with a waiting period. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "What you need to know before importing that exotic Chinese Android phone," 9 Nov. 2018 Last year, Apple introduced Face ID, a service that enables iPhone X owners to unlock their phones with their face. New York Times, "Microsoft Urges Congress to Regulate Use of Facial Recognition," 13 July 2018 Throughout the first half, Shaqiri looked the likeliest player to unlock the stubborn Swedes with a moment of magic. SI.com, "Sweden 1-0 Switzerland: Unlucky Deflection Breaks Swiss Hearts in Drab World Cup Last 16 Clash," 3 July 2018 The OnePlus 6 has an improved camera with a super slow-mo feature as well as the ability to unlock the whole thing with your face. Josie Colt, WIRED, "All the Gear, Gadgets, and Apps We Loved in May," 31 May 2018 The box can also be unlocked with a key (remember, those fancy fobs usually have keys hidden inside them). Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "Touch and Go: Mulliner Offering Fingerprint-Lockable Storage in Bentley Bentayga," 19 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of unlock

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unlock

Statistics for unlock

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unlock

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unlock

unlock

verb

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

unlock

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!