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 Behind the scenes, though, a quiet revolution has been afoot to unlock the secrets of our faceprints. New York Times, "What Happens When Our Faces Are Tracked Everywhere We Go?," 18 Mar. 2021 This is where a full-service ownership approach can unlock accountability, speed up incident response and deliver rapid returns. Michael Cucchi, Forbes, "Full-Service Ownership: The Journey To Business Success Starts By Agreeing On A Single Source Of Truth," 16 Apr. 2021 These myriad missions seek to understand our planetary neighbor and unlock the secrets of its past to prepare for future exploration. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Why Mars? The fascination with exploring the red planet," 15 Apr. 2021 In mid-March, Azimuth demonstrated the solution at FBI headquarters, showing Comey and other leaders how Condor could unlock an iPhone 5C. Washington Post, "The FBI wanted to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. It turned to a little-known Australian firm.," 14 Apr. 2021 The American Rescue Plan signed into law on Thursday by President Joe Biden will unlock $1.9 trillion of federal spending with the goal of helping the U.S. economy back on its feet from the pandemic. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "A big beneficiary of the $1.9 trillion aid bill: Working-class and middle-class households," 12 Mar. 2021 At that intersection, hotel guests have capabilities on the Kayak smartphone application such as the ability to message hotel staff on a 24-hour basis, requests room upgrades, unlock their room's door and control room features. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Travel search platform Kayak set to open its first 'tech-forward' hotel in Miami Beach on April 11," 10 Mar. 2021 With numbers pointing to Allen as a lethal pick-and-roll partner alongside Irving, the Cavs have visions of a successful Garland-Allen combination, helping unlock another area of Garland’s budding game. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers jump in James Harden trade, steal Jarrett Allen and make big addition to growing young core," 14 Jan. 2021 In stretches Sunday at Staples Center, that process, along with the potential the Clippers firmly believe the 35-year-old, two-time champion can unlock once that acclimation period ends was all on display during his 13 minutes. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Clippers priming Rajon Rondo for playoffs with methodical approach," 5 Apr. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unlock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlock. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on unlock

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