Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. To lock the doors or other entrances into some building or so that someone or something is unable to enter from the outside. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lock" and "out." I can't believe she locked me out of the house, just because I drunkenly kissed some girl at the bar! The car comes with a new feature that makes it impossible to lock yourself out. The factory was shuttered overnight, the owners having locked out all of the employees.
2. To prevent employees from coming to work or performing their duties during a labor dispute. The factory gates were chained shut, a clear sign to the workers that the owners had locked them all out. All electricians in the union will be locked out of further work until the dispute has been resolved.
1. Keep out, prevent from entering. For example, Karen was so angry at her brother that she locked him out of the house. [Late 1500s] Shakespeare had it in The Comedy of Errors (4:1): "For locking me out of my doors by day."
2. Withhold work from employees during a labor dispute, as in The company threatened to lock out the strikers permanently. [Mid-1800s]
1. To prevent someone or something from entering a place by locking a door or entrance: The committee locked out the protesters from the meeting hall. I left the keys in the car and accidentally locked myself out.
2. To withhold work from some employees during a labor dispute: The company bosses locked the auto workers out. The management will lock out the pilots' union until an agreement is reached.
3. To exclude someone from something, as a competition. Used chiefly in the passive: Professional athletes were locked out of the competition.