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 Face++ software is in wide use in commercial services like smartphone unlocking and mobile payments. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "Chinese A.I. Startup Megvii Files for an IPO in Hong Kong Amid Protests," 27 Aug. 2019 Wolves' priority needs to be finding ways to unlock stubborn defences, and therefore picking up more points against teams at the bottom end of the table. SI.com, "Wolves: The Team Set to Take Chelsea's Place in the 'Big Six' This Season," 23 Aug. 2019 The scooters cost $1 to unlock and $0.25 per minute to use. Keith Schubert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lime scooters have launched in Milwaukee," 23 July 2019 Ten minutes later the worshippers were back in the pews, doors unlocked, and getting ready to hear the weekly Torah portion. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, "Synagogues are now conducting active shooter drills during services," 1 July 2019 They're located, unlocked and paid for via a smartphone app. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Look out, Bird and Lime. 5 more dockless scooters are licensed in Louisville," 20 June 2019 Cantrell presented a key to the city to the Chase family, recalling that Chase unlocked and opened doors all her life. Ann Maloney, nola.com, "New Orleans bids final farewell to Leah Chase with funeral Mass, second-lines," 10 June 2019 Most adventure games at the time plopped the player into a dungeon to wander around, aimlessly unlocking doors and fighting monsters. Matt Jancer, Smithsonian, "How a Generation Became Obsessed With Tracking Down Carmen Sandiego," 15 Oct. 2019 My Ministers will ensure that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Delivered the Customary Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament," 14 Oct. 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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for unlock

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

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More Definitions for unlock


How to pronounce unlock (audio)

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

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to speed up the process or progress of

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