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unlock Line breaks: un¦lock
Pronunciation: /ʌnˈlɒk/

Definition of unlock in English:


[with object]
1Undo the lock of (something), typically with a key: he unlocked the door to his room
More example sentences
  • One of the interesting features of the new building is the automatic security system, which locks and unlocks the doors at preset times.
  • Luckily my car has remote central locking so I am still able to lock and unlock the doors.
  • She found them and turned it in the lock, unlocking the door and sliding it open.
1.1Make (something previously inaccessible or unexploited) available for use: the campaign has helped us unlock rich reserves of talent among our employees
More example sentences
  • This has been the key to unlocking the rich historical and anthropological significance of this art form.
  • The music selection in Mad Maestro is quite large with thirty-some songs available to unlock.
  • The missions are objective based, and although they don't all have to be completed it pays to as at the end it unlocks a ‘Specialist’ who is available for future missions.
2Use a password or other form of authentication to access the full functionality or data of (a computer, mobile phone, file, etc.): when you unlock your phone, you’re presented with the ‘home screen’—the interface that shows off all your apps
More example sentences
  • You can even dismiss notifications without unlocking your phone.
  • The 5S allows owners to unlock their phone quicker by using a fingerprint instead of a passcode.
  • The hard press will activate the screen, and the light touch will unlock the phone.
2.1Make (a mobile phone) capable of operating on the network of any chosen carrier: you cannot unlock your phone while you are under contract
More example sentences
  • It is illegal to unlock your phone without a carrier's permission.
  • Telephone companies will unlock phones that are out of contract, but whether they charge a fee to do this varies somewhat.
  • When we say "unlock" in this guide, we don't mean unlocking your phone to use a different carrier, which is a completely different process.


unlock the land
Australian historical Release Crown land to be used for small farms: the administration would press forward with legislation to unlock the land
More example sentences
  • Increasingly she used her renown to intervene publicly on a range of issues, including "unlocking the lands" of pastoralists.
  • Colonial governments answered this call in their 1860s development rhetoric of "unlocking the land".
  • The movement to unlock the lands and settle them with small farmers was, in part, a demand for the abolition of official privilege.
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