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Posted 08/25/2023

Locksmith Glossary

Locksmith Glossary

The world of locksmithing comes with its unique language, filled with terms and jargon specific to the trade. Whether you're a homeowner seeking to improve your security or a curious individual interested in locksmithing, understanding the terminology can be invaluable. In this locksmith glossary, we will decode the key terms used by locksmiths, helping you navigate the locksmith world with ease and confidence.

1. Key Terms:

1.1. Locksmith: A trained professional who specializes in installing, repairing, and adjusting locks and security systems.

1.2. Key: A metal device with precisely cut notches that align with the pins or tumblers within a lock, allowing it to be turned and unlocking the mechanism.

1.3. Pin Tumbler Lock: A common type of lock consisting of pins that must be raised to a specific height by the correct key to allow the plug to rotate and unlock the door.

1.4. Master Key: A special key that can open multiple locks within a system, each having its individual key as well.

1.5. Keyway: The specific shape and configuration of the keyhole in which the key is inserted to operate the lock.

1.6. Key Blank: An uncut key made of metal that can be shaped and cut to create a functioning key.

2. Lock Types:

2.1. Deadbolt Lock: A robust lock that uses a bolt to secure a door in the closed position, usually requiring a key or thumbturn to operate.

2.2. Mortise Lock: A lock designed to be installed within a pocket, or mortise, in the edge of a door.

2.3. Rim Cylinder: A type of lock cylinder that is surface-mounted on the inside of a door, commonly used in rim locks and night latches.

2.4. Cam Lock: A lock that uses a rotating cam to secure or release a device, often used for cabinets and drawers.

2.5. Smart Lock: An electronic lock that allows remote access and control using smartphones or smart home devices.

3. Lock Components:

3.1. Cylinder: The core of the lock that houses the keyway and tumblers, where the key is inserted.

3.2. Tumblers/Pins: Small metal components within the lock cylinder that align to allow the key to turn and unlock the lock.

3.3. Plug: The part of the lock cylinder that rotates when the key is inserted, allowing the bolt to retract or extend.

3.4. Bolt/Latch: The locking mechanism that extends from the lock into the doorframe, securing the door in place.

3.5. Strike Plate: The metal plate installed on the door frame where the bolt extends to keep the door secure when locked.

4. Locksmith Tools:

4.1. Pick Set: A set of specialized tools used by locksmiths to manipulate the pins inside a lock to open it without the original key.

4.2. Key Extractor: A tool used to remove broken keys from lock cylinders.

4.3. Decoder: A tool used to decipher the combination of a lock or determine the key's bitting code.


Unlocking the world of locksmithing jargon is like having a key to a treasure trove of knowledge. By understanding the terms in this locksmith glossary, you can communicate more effectively with locksmiths, make informed decisions about your security, and appreciate the intricacies of lock mechanisms. Whether you're interested in home security, pursuing locksmithing as a career, or simply seeking to enhance your knowledge, this glossary provides you with the foundation to explore the fascinating world of locksmithing with confidence.

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