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1. A gunlock in which powder is ignited by a match.
2. A musket having such a gunlock.


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



1. a gunlock that ignites the charge by a slow match.
2. a gun, usu. a musket, with such a lock.
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
References in classic literature ?
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.
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.
His men were apparently more skilled with their hickory longbows and snares than the Pilgrims were with their smoothbore matchlocks.
Hunters have probably argued about "all-around" hunting guns ever since they switched from longbows to matchlocks.
There are Kentucky rifles, carbines, matchlocks, rolling block and numerous percussion long arms and hand guns.
While matchlocks were almost exclusively long guns,
From the late 1400s through the early 1700s, the quest for greater fire power and accuracy produced the first stocked, shoulder-fired matchlocks.
Similar revolving matchlocks with from three to eight cylinders exist that were made in France and Germany in the 17th century, and at least one flintlock "six-shooter" survives from the early 18th century.
The addition of matchlocks to warfare caused William, Maurice, John and others to change this tradition.
Several mechanisms to ignite the powder were developed, such as matchlocks and wheellocks.