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[grid-lok] /ˈgrɪdˌlɒk/
the stoppage of free vehicular movement in an urban area because key intersections are blocked by traffic.
the blocking of an intersection by vehicular traffic entering the intersection but unable to pass through it.
any situation in which nothing can move or proceed in any direction:
a financial gridlock due to high interest rates.
Origin of gridlock
1975-80, Americanism; grid + lock1
Related forms
gridlocked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gridlock
  • The prospect of two years of gridlock and troublemaking is worrying.
  • The spread of mobile phones has only worsened telephone gridlock.
  • Too often, anger on one side leads to guilt and defensiveness on the other, resulting in sibling gridlock.
  • It's a place of constant gridlock and giant holes in the sidewalks.
  • Last year's gridlock prompted airlines and the government to take numerous steps to ease congestion.
  • Struggling families and workers want to end the gridlock and get our economy moving.
  • Flying cars might have seemed cool, but there wasn't enough gridlock to feed an urgency to build one.
  • Yet that theme seems but a dream given the gridlock he has been unable to change.
  • With the prospect of gridlock at home, a president naturally turns abroad.
  • And an opposition that never compromises dooms the nation to gridlock.
British Dictionary definitions for gridlock


obstruction of urban traffic caused by queues of vehicles forming across junctions and causing further queues to form in the intersecting streets
a point in a dispute at which no agreement can be reached; deadlock: political gridlock
(transitive) (of traffic) to block or obstruct (an area)
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 gridlock

1980 (n.); 1987 (v.); from grid + lock. Related: Gridlocked; gridlocking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gridlock



A blockage; paralysis: Until the emotional and psychological gridlock over the Federal deficit is broken

[1980+; fr the traffic term designating a total blockage of traffic caused by cars stopping in intersections behind other stopped cars and blocking traffic on the intersecting street]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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