Locksmith jargon-buster – some of the common words & phrases we use (Part One)

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If you get locked out of your house or business, lose your keys or suffer a break-in or burglary, chances are an emergency locksmith will be among the first people you call.

While you can expect to receive a professional and friendly service from an expert locksmith, there may be some confusion about some of the terms we use.

At Grays Locksmiths, we always try to give out advice in plain English, so it is easy to understand.

However, there are some terms, words or phrases we use which may have you reaching for the dictionary.

So, in a bid to keep things simple, here is a locksmith jargon-buster, featuring part one of our glossary of some of the most common words and phrases you might hear.

Anti-thrust bolt

A spring bolt which can’t be pushed back without a knob or key once it has fastened a door.

Anti-thrust plate

An overlapping metal plate fitted on outward opening doors, which prevents access to its lockbolts.

Automatic deadlatch

A latch which automatically deadlocks when you close the door.


The plate which attaches the moving parts of a lock or latch to the door.


A partly made key that hasn’t been cut or notched to match an individual lock.


The fastening part of a lock.


That part of a key which you hold when operating a lock.


British Standard, the quality standard for the manufacturing, testing and performance of locks used in the UK.

Burglar Bars

Steel bars which are fitted inside your windows to provide additional security.

Cabinet lock

A generic phrase for any type of furniture lock, such as cupboards, drawers and boxes.


The removable cover of a lock mechanism.


The vertical measurement between the centre of the keyhole and the centre of the follower hole in an upright or sash lock.

Combination Lock

Another name for a keyless combination lock.

Cylinder lock

A lock which has its mechanism contained in a cylinder.


The square-ended bolt of a lock which its key can move in both directions.


A latch which can be deadlocked with a key.


A lock which can be operated with a key from one or both sides of the door.

Disk tumbler lock

A cylinder lock that has disks instead of pin tumblers.

Door closer

A device which closes a door or gate automatically after it’s been opened.


The technical name for the cover of a mortice lock keyhole.

Flush Bolt

A door bolt which sits flush to the door’s edge or face.

Hasp and staple

The two pieces on a door or box that are fastened by a padlock.

Hook bolt

A pivoted spring-bolt used to secure sliding doors.


The vertical part of a door or window frame.


You don’t really need us to explain this one, do you?


See above


The movable parts of a lock mechanism which enable it to fasten. Levers sit at various depths within the lock, to provide different key combinations.

Lever mechanism

A lock which uses one or more levers.


See key, above.

Lockable bolt

What it says – a bolt that can be locked.

London strip

The steel bar fitted to the inside face of a door frame to accept the bolt or latch of a lock.

Give Grays Locksmiths a call  

Confused? You needn’t be.

At Grays Locksmiths Derby, we’re here to help. As a member of the Master Locksmiths Association, we’re highly regulated, fully accredited and dedicated to providing a simple, straightforward service to all our customers.

So, if you are having problems with your doors, locks or security, either at home or at work, give us a call.

We’ll help you understand your problem and what you need to do to fix it, without bamboozling you with trade jargon that you don’t understand.

If you’ve enjoyed part one of this jargon-buster, keep your eyes peeled for part two, which we’ll publish very soon.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for security advice for a bit of peace of mind, give us a call on 01332 404 255, even if it’s just to ask us a question or talk about any security concerns you may have.

We’d love to hear from you.