dead·​lock ˈded-ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a state of inaction or neutralization resulting from the opposition of equally powerful uncompromising persons or factions : standstill
the deadlock was broken with a key compromise
: a tie score
deadlock verb

Examples of deadlock in a Sentence

City councilors reached a deadlock over the law. His goal broke a 3–3 deadlock.
Recent Examples on the Web This two-year political deadlock came to an end in February. Catherine Nicholls, CNN, 29 Mar. 2024 With Cummings at his side, along with Lee Cain, another former Vote Leave official, who became his director of communications, Johnson broke the deadlock that had existed since the referendum. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 Targeting Russia’s Oil Industry: With its army short of ammunition and troops to break the deadlock on the battlefield, Kyiv has increasingly taken the fight beyond the Ukrainian border, attacking oil infrastructure deep in Russian territory. Maria Varenikova, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 Weinstein later filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that claimed that Besser and Levine terminated him following his attempts to resolve a deadlock on personnel and administrative matters (board of director composition and officer compensation). Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Mar. 2024 After the deadlock, the players had to vote again to break the tie. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 8 Mar. 2024 Nearly one month on, the two companies, which are crucial to the broader entertainment industry, continue to be in a deadlock. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 29 Feb. 2024 As the second anniversary of Russia's unprovoked war against Ukraine approaches at the end of February, there is an effective deadlock along the whole of Ukraine's eastern front with Russia. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, 20 Jan. 2024 United were rewarded for the early pressure and broke the deadlock through McTominay 10 minutes in, who poked home after Alejandro Garnacho’s shot was saved by Kelleher. Sam Joseph, CNN, 17 Mar. 2024

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

1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadlock was in 1779

Dictionary Entries Near deadlock

Cite this Entry

“Deadlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


dead·​lock -ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a stopping of action because both sides in a struggle are equally powerful and neither will give in
deadlock verb

Legal Definition


dead·​lock ˈded-ˌläk How to pronounce deadlock (audio)
: a state of inaction resulting from the opposition of equally powerful uncompromising persons or factions: as
: the state of a jury unable to agree on a verdict see also allen charge
: a state in which corporate directors are unable to perform their functions because of shareholder voting
deadlock verb

More from Merriam-Webster on deadlock

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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