un·​lock | \ˌən-ˈläk \
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

Best Buy's offer is for new Verizon activations only—not those who just buy the phone unlocked—and requires a monthly installment plan. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Buy a Google Pixel 3, get $800 off a second in credits," 11 Oct. 2018 Victory Fridges’ full of beer that would automatically unlock when the Browns won their first regular season game. Fox News Staff, Fox News, "Early voting begins, final phase of midterms is here," 21 Sep. 2018 The app enables users to unlock and re-park bikes from any of the hubs and pay $2.50 per trip for 30-minute rides. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "Oak Park sells former Divvy stations for $140K; forest preserves offering dockless bike sharing in River Forest," 10 July 2018 Dog owners can rent a DogSpot via an app that also unlocks the house and allows the pet parent to monitor their dog via webcam. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Cool dogs: Company develops air conditioned public dog houses for dogs on the go," 7 July 2018 The scooters cost $1 to unlock and then 15 cents a minute to use. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "As e-scooters flow into SA, officials scramble to regulate, but not too much," 6 July 2018 Transportation rental companies such as Lime and Mobike enable customers in various cities to unlock and rent bicycles or scooters using a mobile app. Priscella Vega, latimes.com, "Huntington Beach takes steps to temporarily ban bicycle and scooter rental services," 3 July 2018 There are metal detectors at the main entrance and, down an airy corridor, double sets of doors that unlock after an employee holds an identification card up to an electronic reader. James Barron, New York Times, "Don’t Hate Her. She’s Just the (Subway) Messenger.," 1 July 2018 Since then, Levan has wasted no time taking steps to unlock shareholder value and raise the company’s profile. David Lyons, Sun-Sentinel.com, "BBX sees upside in vacation sharing, real estate, pizza and sweets — now if only the markets agree," 25 June 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

9 Dec 2018

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 \
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 move with a clumsy heavy tread

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