Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to matchlock: Wheellock


1. A gunlock in which powder is ignited by a match.
2. A musket having such a gunlock.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Firearms, Gunnery, Ordnance & Artillery) an obsolete type of gunlock igniting the powder by means of a slow match
2. (Firearms, Gunnery, Ordnance & Artillery) a gun having such a lock
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. a gunlock that ignites the charge by a slow match.
2. a gun, usu. a musket, with such a lock.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.matchlock - an early style of musketmatchlock - an early style of musket; a slow-burning wick would be lowered into a hole in the breech to ignite the charge
musket - a muzzle-loading shoulder gun with a long barrel; formerly used by infantrymen
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
In the interior was displayed a stuffed alligator, a rattlesnake's skin, a bundle of Indian arrows, an old-fashioned matchlock gun, a walking-stick of Governor Winthrop's, a wig of old Cotton Mather's, and a colored print of the Boston massacre.
One-third of it was an old muzzle-loading fowling-piece with ragged rust holes where the nipples should have been; one-third a wirebound matchlock with a worm-eaten stock, and one-third a four-bore flint duck-gun, without a flint.
A double rank of soldiers made their appearance, occupying the whole breadth of the passage, with shouldered matchlocks, and matches burning, so as to present a row of fires in the dusk.
Trophies of blunderbuses, matchlocks, arquebuses, carbines, all kinds of firearms, ancient and modern, were picturesquely interlaced against the walls.
The firm's large catalog of gun kits has everything from matchlock to percussion and includes a large variety of unusual arms such as Brunswick rifles, Versailles carbines, flintlock grenade launchers and, yes, the Nock Volley Gun.
Stepping just inside the permanent exhibit on American Military History in the National Museum of American History, you will immediately come face-to-face with a maple-stocked matchlock musket.
The standard military musket of the period was a .75- to .80-caliber smoothbore matchlock, though some snaphances, flintlocks and wheellocks were also in limited use, as were lighter calivers, the latter eventually--in many cases--supplanting the musket.
Over the centuries, rifle shooters have developed many arguments to keep them fired up: matchlock versus wheel-lock, .45-70 versus .30-30, O'Connor versus Keith, walnut versus synthetic, and on and on and on.
This fascinating muzzleloader probably first appeared around the latter part of the 17th century as a matchlock But Afghan craftsmen soon recognized the advantages of the flintlock mechanism, and it was adopted very early on many guns--such as the one we will be using in this evaluation--employing British military musket locks.
The matchlock is one of the very earliest forms of firearms.
It consisted of a round shield about 18 inches in diameter, through which a breechloading matchlock pistol protruded.
Reliable, effective and affordable, the flintlock easily replaced matchlock and wheel-lock technologies as the premier ignition source (in pre-percussion-cap times) for muzzle-loading firearms.