1. a state in which progress is impossible, as in a dispute, produced by the counteraction of opposing forces; standstill; stalemate: The union and management reached a deadlock over fringe benefits.
  2. deadbolt.
  3. a maximum-security cell for the solitary confinement of a prisoner.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to bring or come to a deadlock.


  1. a state of affairs in which further action between two opposing forces is impossible; stalemate
  2. a tie between opposite sides in a contest
  3. a lock having a bolt that can be opened only with a key


  1. to bring or come to a deadlock

“complete standstill,” from dead (adj.), in its emphatic use, + lock (n.). First attested 1779 in Sheridan’s play “The Critic.”

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