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

Google also announced a variety of features for the Pixel 4 this summer, including motion sensing technology and the ability to unlock the phone with a users' face, similar to Apple's Face ID feature. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "The Pixel 4 is coming. Google announces October 15 event," 16 Sep. 2019 But a new technique based on the emerging field of proteomics has begun to unlock the deep past, and recently researchers extracted genetic information from the tooth enamel of a rhinoceros that lived 1.7 million years ago. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "1.7-Million-Year-Old Rhino Tooth Provides Oldest DNA Data Ever Studied," 12 Sep. 2019 Capture a unique photographic angle on this iconic site, and then venture through the ancient temples and dwellings to unlock their mysteries. National Geographic, "Peru and the Amazon Expedition: Inca Wonders and Jungle Wildlife," 10 Sep. 2019 Already many people have become comfortable relying on facial recognition rather than a password to unlock an iPhone or a Windows laptop. Wired, "Do Our Faces Deserve the Same Protection as Our Phones?," 10 Sep. 2019 Hebson was able to unlock the back door, but was then confronted with another challenge in opening the door. oregonlive, "Former Oregon State rower turns hero after pulling an unconscious man from a lake," 5 Sep. 2019 As the transitional piece between the front and middle gallery, Morning Session starts to unlock another layer of the show. Dallas News, "A Dallas art gallery examines identity in 'How It Looks To Be You In Egyptian Cotton'," 23 Aug. 2019 Travelers into China are being asked to unlock their smartphones so Chinese agents can examine their chats and social media, Bloomberg News reported last week, citing a person familiar the procedure. Sheryl Tian Tong Lee / Bloomberg, Time, "U.K. Government ‘Extremely Concerned’ by Reports of China Detaining Hong Kong Consulate Employee," 20 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, Moon looks to finally unlock his potential. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF’s Buck hard to stop under Gators’ defensive coordinator Todd Grantham," 17 Aug. 2019

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

14 Oct 2019

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 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

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 wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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