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[ded-lok] /ˈdɛdˌlɒk/
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.
a maximum-security cell for the solitary confinement of a prisoner.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to bring or come to a deadlock.
1770-80; dead + lock1
Related forms
undeadlocked, adjective
1. standoff, impasse, draw. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deadlock
  • And the longer the deadlock continues, the crazier people get.
  • Charged with slashing the deficit by trillions, the new bipartisan commission could deadlock or reach a grand bargain.
  • In any case, health legislation is currently stalled by a bitter political deadlock.
  • But the political deadlock means economic deadlock too.
  • Incremental progress is possible, but continued deadlock is likelier.
  • Most worryingly, there is no outside mechanism to knock heads together in case of deadlock.
  • The selection process was dogged by contention and deadlock for months.
  • Street protests have often been dramatic during the past four years of political deadlock here.
  • In the end, it was the bond markets that broke the deadlock.
  • deadlock problems are always a possibility and concern with object synchronization.
British Dictionary definitions for deadlock


a state of affairs in which further action between two opposing forces is impossible; stalemate
a tie between opposite sides in a contest
a lock having a bolt that can be opened only with a key
to bring or come to a deadlock
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deadlock

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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deadlock in Technology
parallel, programming
A situation where two or more processes are unable to proceed because each is waiting for one of the others to do something.
A common example is a program waiting for output from a server while the server is waiting for more input from the controlling program before outputting anything. It is reported that this particular flavour of deadlock is sometimes called a "starvation deadlock", though the term "starvation" is more properly used for situations where a program can never run simply because it never gets high enough priority.
Another common flavour is "constipation", in which each process is trying to send stuff to the other but all buffers are full because nobody is reading anything). See deadly embrace.
Another example, common in database programming, is two processes that are sharing some resource (e.g. read access to a table) but then both decide to wait for exclusive (e.g. write) access.
The term "deadly embrace" is mostly synonymous, though usually used only when exactly two processes are involved. This is the more popular term in Europe, while deadlock predominates in the United States.
Compare: livelock. See also safety property, liveness property.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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