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  • Writer's pictureMarco van Wijk

Locksmithing terminology

Updated: Mar 31


  1. ABUS lock: a type of high-security lock used to prevent theft of bikes, doors, and other valuables.

  2. Access Control: The process of controlling who has access to a particular area or object, often using electronic systems.

  3. ADA Compliant Lock: A lock that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for accessibility.

  4. Anti-Pick Pins: Pins or tumblers inside a lock that are designed to resist manipulation or picking.

  5. Auto Locksmith: A locksmith who specializes in automotive locks and keys.


  1. Bitting: The specific cut or pattern on a key that corresponds to the pins or tumblers in a lock.

  2. Bolt: The part of a lock that extends into the strike plate or receiver to secure the door or window.

  3. Burglary: The act of breaking into a building or vehicle with the intent to steal or commit a crime.


  1. Cam: The component inside a lock that rotates to engage or disengage the bolt or latch.

  2. Car Key: A key designed to operate the locks and ignition of a vehicle.

  3. Combination Lock: A lock that uses a combination of numbers or symbols to open.

  4. Cylindrical Lock: A lock that uses a cylinder to contain the pins or tumblers that align with the key to allow the lock to be opened.


  1. Deadbolt: A type of lock that uses a bolt that cannot be moved without the proper key or combination.

  2. Deadlatch: A type of lock that has a spring-loaded latch that automatically locks when the door is closed.

  3. Door Closer: A device that automatically closes a door after it has been opened.

  4. Door Hardware: All the components of a door, including locks, handles, hinges, and closers.


  1. Electronic Lock: A lock that uses electronic systems, such as keypads or biometric scanners, to control access.

  2. Emergency Locksmith: A locksmith who is available 24/7


  1. Fire Door: A door that is designed to prevent the spread of fire between rooms or compartments.


  1. Gate Lock: A lock that is designed to secure a gate or fence.


  1. High-Security Lock: A lock that is designed to resist picking, drilling, or other forms of forced entry.


  1. Ignition Key: A key designed to operate the ignition system of a vehicle.

  2. Interchangeable Core: A type of lock that allows the core to be easily removed and replaced without disassembling the entire lock.


  1. Jigglers: A set of tools used by locksmiths to manipulate certain types of car locks.


  1. Key Blank: A key that has not been cut or shaped to operate a specific lock.

  2. Key Code: A sequence of numbers or letters that corresponds to the specific cuts or bitting on a key.

  3. Key Cutting: The process of shaping a key to match the specific bitting or cuts on a lock.

  4. Key Duplication: The process of creating a copy of an existing key.


  1. Lever Lock: A type of lock that uses a set of levers to prevent the bolt from being moved without the proper key.

  2. Lock Bumping: A technique used to open a lock by striking the key with a blunt object to temporarily align the pins or tumblers.

  3. Lock Cylinder: The component of a lock that contains the pins or tumblers and aligns with the key to allow the lock to be opened.

  4. Lock Picking: The process of opening a lock without the proper key or combination, often done by manipulating the pins or tumblers inside the cylinder.


  1. Master Key: A key that can open multiple locks in a system, while each lock also has its own individual key.

  2. Mortise Lock: A type of lock that is installed inside a mortise in the door and uses a latchbolt and a deadbolt to secure the door.


  1. Night Latch: A type of lock that automatically locks when the door is closed, but can be opened from the inside without a key.


  1. One-Key System: A system that allows multiple locks to be opened with a single key.


  1. Padlock: A portable lock that can be attached to a chain or hasp to secure items such as gates, lockers, or bicycles.

  2. Panic Bar: A horizontal bar on a door that, when pushed, releases the latch or bolt to allow for quick exit in case of an emergency.

  3. Pins: small cylindrical mechanisms inside a lock that align to allow the lock to open.


  1. Rekeying: The process of changing the pins or tumblers inside a lock so that a new key can be used to open it.


  1. Safe: A secure container used for storing valuables or important documents.

  2. Smart Lock: A lock that can be controlled or accessed using a smartphone or other electronic device.


  1. Tubular Lock: A type of cylindrical lock that uses a tubular key with a circular cross-section.


  1. UL Listed: A certification given to locks and other security products that have been tested and meet the standards of Underwriters Laboratories.


  1. Vault: A highly secure room or container used for storing valuable items such as money or jewelry.


  1. Wafer Tumbler Lock: A type of lock that uses flat wafers instead of pins or tumblers to align with the key and allow the lock to be opened.


  1. X-tra Security: A term used to describe locks or security systems that provide additional layers of protection beyond the standard.


  1. Yale Lock: A type of pin tumbler lock that uses a flat key with a serrated edge.


  1. Zero-Bitted: A term used to describe a lock that has been intentionally designed without any cuts or bitting in the key, making it more difficult to pick or manipulate.

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