Definition of gridlock in English:



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

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

    another term for deadlock (sense 1 of the noun)

    • ‘Proponents say a parliamentary system would end the gridlock between the executive and legislature that dogs Philippine politics.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And still the returns prophesied continued political gridlock in an evenly divided nation.’
    • ‘Wall Street likes legislative gridlock because politicians cannot apply their financial ideas.’
    • ‘Less than four years into the life of the parliament we seem to be facing the prospect of legislative gridlock.’
    • ‘But Fontaine was also slowed by the gridlock created by internal Liberal Party machinations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


1980s (originally US): from grid (in gridlock (sense 2)) + lock.