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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to become unfastened or freed from restraints

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.
Recent Examples on the Web For example, at the African Climate Summit that took place earlier this month in Nairobi, the UAE launched a $4.5 billion Finance Initiative that will bring private and public sector partners together with African governments to help unlock Africa’s clean energy potential. Sultan Al Jaber, Fortune, 19 Sep. 2023 But immense tectonic pressure from colliding continents can alter the stones’ crystal structure, unlocking the potential colors hidden within. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 Each day of advent unlocks the key to getting out of the predicament, leading closer to their final goal of saving Christmas. Nicole Pyles, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Sep. 2023 Create a free account on Madewell’s website and automatically unlock 25 percent off everything through 11:59 p.m. Alyssa Grabinski, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2023 The new Invasion mode is a board game that unlocks so many cosmetic assets simply by playing your favorite characters. Gene Park, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 The game will boast over 65 suits and an improved suit style system, which allows players to unlock new color variants, like a bright yellow Advanced Suit 2.0. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 15 Sep. 2023 The jeers turn to cheers when Cassandro unlocks that magic moment when hate transforms into love. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Educators say helping teachers in the early grades gain confidence in math could be one key to unlocking America’s post-pandemic math recovery. Ariel Gilreath, al, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unlock.' 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

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near unlock

Cite this Entry

“Unlock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlock. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​lock ˌən-ˈläk How to pronounce unlock (audio)
: to open or unfasten through release of a lock
unlock the door
the chest won't unlock
: to set free : release
unlock a flood of emotions
: to make known
scientists unlocking the secrets of nature

More from Merriam-Webster on unlock

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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