Definition of gridlock in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A situation of very severe traffic congestion.

    ‘the city reaches gridlock during peak hours’
    • ‘How else can we deal with the looming threat of climate change and gridlock on the roads?’
    • ‘If we want to keep motorists sane and avoid total the gridlock of Saturday last, now is the time to start planning.’
    • ‘A virtual gridlock exists around this area between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm.’
    • ‘A number of ideas are being looked at by Colchester Council to bring an end to rush-hour gridlock.’
    • ‘People feared the development would cause traffic gridlock and claimed noisy fans would make their lives a misery.’
    • ‘Nobody will thank the planners if they face daily gridlock getting to and from their homes.’
    • ‘In Edinburgh, six-mile tailbacks of commuter traffic brought gridlock to much of the city for more than three hours.’
    • ‘The best way to ease gridlock is to voluntarily switch to other forms of travel, where possible.’
    • ‘Diversions left early morning motorists facing huge tailbacks and the gridlock is expected to continue tonight.’
    • ‘The aim is to rid the town of heavy through traffic which is creating gridlock.’
    • ‘Traffic lights lost power, causing gridlock all across the city.’
    • ‘The predictable result was gridlock on the highways.’
    • ‘A meeting was convened to discuss possible ways to prevent total gridlock.’
    • ‘There was gridlock on some roads when 200,000 people converged on RAF Fairford for last summer's two-day event.’
    • ‘London's new congestion charging experiment - designed to ease traffic gridlock in the capital - went live this morning.’
    • ‘The A1237 fails in that too many roads feed into it causing gridlock at peak times.’
    • ‘Mr Weston said: ‘It was total gridlock and we're determined it won't happen again.’’
    • ‘One open-air concert starring Robbie Williams attracted 370,000 people and caused gridlock for miles.’
    • ‘York's traffic was plunged into rush-hour gridlock again as half-term holidaymakers joined commuters on the congested roads.’
    • ‘And that flood of goods is threatening to create gridlock on the roads and rails of Southern California.’
    congestion, traffic jam, jam, tailback, hold-up, bottleneck, gridlock, queue, stoppage, obstruction
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  • 2

    another term for deadlock
    • ‘And still the returns prophesied continued political gridlock in an evenly divided nation.’
    • ‘President Bashar Al-Assad ended the gridlock by attending Arafat's funeral in November 2004.’
    • ‘Proponents say a parliamentary system would end the gridlock between the executive and legislature that dogs Philippine politics.’
    • ‘But Fontaine was also slowed by the gridlock created by internal Liberal Party machinations.’
    • ‘The move to inject liquidity started in Asia as the Bank of Japan reacted early to head off fears of a global gridlock.’
    • ‘Months of political gridlock have taken the shine off of Chen's victory.’
    • ‘Wall Street likes legislative gridlock because politicians cannot apply their financial ideas.’
    • ‘That could lead to months of gridlock and policy drift, say some analysts.’
    • ‘But he is up to his neck in it right now, and potentially faces years of policy gridlock in city hall.’
    • ‘Less than four years into the life of the parliament we seem to be facing the prospect of legislative gridlock.’
    • ‘For the past few decades regional resource and environmental policy and management have been in and out of decision gridlocks in many regions of North America, Europe, and Australia.’


1980s (originally US): from grid (in gridlock)+ lock.