Saturday, February 19, 2011


Joni asked about the connection between a lock of hair and a lock used to protect one’s home. There is no direct connection; instead, there are two words with identical spelling.

Lock1, generally speaking, involves hair or material that resembles hair.

  • a tress, the natural division into which hair will clump
  • a figurative description of leaves on a tree
  • a tuft of wool or cotton
  • a small bundle of hay or straw

Lock2 , for the most part, involves containment or confinement.

  • a device, activated by a key, that employs a bolt to fasten a door.
  • a shackle on an animal’s foot designed to prevent it from straying.
  • a device to keep a wheel from revolving or turning.
  • a mechanism in a firearm for exploding the charge.
  • a section of a waterway, such as a canal, closed off with gates, in which vessels in transit are raised or lowered by raising or lowering the water level of that section.
  • a chamber for a person to transition between air and water (as in a submarine), or between air and a vacuum (as in a spacecraft).
  • an assemblage of objects jammed together.
  • a grip in wrestling.
  • a secure hold or control of a situation.
  • an outcome marked by certitude.

SIDEBAR: Lock4, the band

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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