Breaktime - The job stops here - Yoofspeak

4th February 2011 at 00:00

On lock (adj)

Means: To have a situation under control or to be under someone's control

Usage: "I can definitely come out, I've got the parent situation on lock""Steve, man, that girl has so got you on lock"

Reminiscent of a trigger-happy Tom Cruise targeting an enemy jet in Top Gun, or the more believably Yoof-influencing "lock and load" gun reference of gang culture, this buzz term is actually nothing to do with ammo aggression. The age-old idiom of being "under lock and key" has been reworked for the now standard multi-purpose requirements of pupils, meaning it can be both positive and negative, to suggest being in total control or helplessly under the thumb, another phrase of yore that has lost its lustre. With the Yoof's thumbs permanently engaged in texting or playing Angry Birds, anything being "under" them bar a keypad or a touch-screen is too unrealistic to contemplate.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today