AskDefine | Define interlock

Dictionary Definition

interlock n : the act of interlocking or meshing; "an interlocking of arms by the police held the crowd in check" [syn: mesh, meshing, interlocking]


1 coordinate in such a way that all parts work together effectively [syn: mesh]
2 hold in a locking position; "He locked his hands around her neck" [syn: lock, interlace]
3 become engaged or intermeshed with one another; "They were locked in embrace" [syn: lock]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A safety device that prevents activation in unsafe conditions.
    The demonstrator couldn't figure out why the machine wouldn't work, until he remembered that there was an interlock so it wouldn't operate with the cover open.


  1. To fit together securely.
  2. To interlace.

Extensive Definition

Interlocking is a method of preventing undesired states in a state machine, which in a general sense can include any electrical, electronic, or mechanical device or system.
In most applications an interlock is a device used to help prevent a machine from harming its operator or damaging itself by stopping the machine when tripped. Household microwave ovens are equipped with interlock switches which disable the magnetron if the door is opened. Similarly household washing machines will interrupt the spin cycle when the lid is open. Interlocks also serve as important safety devices in industrial settings, where they protect employees from devices such as robots, presses, and hammers. While interlocks can be something as sophisticated as curtains of infrared beams and photodetectors, they are often just switches.
Trapped key interlocking (commonly called Castell Interlocking) is a method of ensuring safety in industrial environments by forcing the operator through a sequence using a defined selection of keys, locks and switches.
In microprocessor architecture an interlock is hardware that stalls the pipeline (inserts bubbles) when a hazard is detected until the hazard is cleared. One example of a hazard is if a software program loads data from the system bus and calls for use of that data in the following cycle in a system in which loads take multiple cycles (a load-to-use hazard).
Interlocks may be strictly mechanical, as in the internal safety of a firearm that prevents release of the firing pin unless the chamber is properly closed.
In the operation of a device such as a press or cutter that is hand fed or the workpiece hand removed, the use of two buttons to actuate the device, one for each hand, greatly reduces the possibility of operation endangering the operator. No such system is fool-proof, and such systems are often augmented by the use of cable–pulled gloves worn by the operator; these are retracted away from the danger area by the stroke of the machine.
interlock in Italian: Interlock

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accord, aegis, agree, answer to, arm guard, assent, assort with, backstop, be consistent, be of one, be uniform with, buffer, bulwark, bumper, check, chime, cohere, coincide, concur, conform, conform with, consist with, contraceptive, cooperate, copyright, correspond, crash helmet, cushion, dashboard, dodger, dovetail, face mask, fall in together, fender, finger guard, fit together, foot guard, fuse, go together, go with, goggles, governor, guard, guardrail, hand guard, handrail, hang together, hard hat, harmonize, helmet, hit, hold together, insulation, interaffiliate, interally, interassociate, interconnect, intercouple, interdepend, interdigitate, interjoin, interlink, interrelate, intersect, intertie, jibe, knee guard, knuckle guard, laminated glass, life preserver, lifeline, lightning conductor, lightning rod, lock, mask, match, mudguard, nose guard, overlap, pad, padding, palladium, parallel, patent, pilot, preventive, prophylactic, protective clothing, protective umbrella, register, register with, respond to, safeguard, safety, safety glass, safety plug, safety rail, safety shoes, safety switch, safety valve, screen, seat belt, shield, shin guard, sing in chorus, sort with, square, square with, stand together, sun helmet, tally, umbrella, windscreen, windshield
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