Essential Locksmith Terms You Should Know: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners and Businesses


Understanding locksmith terminology helps you make informed decisions and communicate effectively with a locksmith. Here’s a comprehensive list of important locksmith terms that could be useful to you:


The specific design of the key slot in a lock is called the keyway, and it corresponds to different key shapes.


Reconfiguring the internal components of a lock to work with a new key makes the old key inoperable. This is a cost-effective method of enhancing security without replacing the entire lock.


A deadbolt is a type of lock bolt that is operated by turning a knob or key without the action of a spring. Deadbolts provide better security compared to spring bolt locks.

Lock Cylinder

The cylindrical part of the lock where the key is inserted. When the correct key is turned, it engages with the internal mechanism to unlock the door.

Master Key System

A system where a single key can unlock multiple locks, each with its own individual key. This is commonly used in commercial settings for ease of access and security management.

Key Duplication

Key duplication is the process of making an exact copy of an existing key. It is commonly done for home, office, and car keys.

High-Security Locks

Locks are designed with enhanced security features to resist picking, drilling, and other forms of forced entry. These locks often require specific authorization for key duplication.

Access Control

Access control is a system that regulates who can enter or exit an area. It can range from traditional locks and keys to advanced electronic systems with card readers, keypads, or biometric scanners.

Lock Picking

A method used to open a lock without the original key, often by manipulating the components of the lock mechanism. While lock picking can be a legitimate skill for locksmiths, it is illegal if done without authorization.

Smart Locks

Modern locks can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or other electronic device. Smart locks often include features like keyless entry, remote locking/unlocking, and activity monitoring.

Key Fob

A key fob is a small electronic device used to control access to a vehicle or building. It can be programmed to interact with specific locks or access control systems.

Strike Plate

A strike plate is a metal plate attached to the door frame, where the lock bolt slides in. It reinforces the door frame and enhances security.

Transponder Key

A transponder key contains an embedded chip that communicates with the vehicle’s immobilizer system, providing increased security and making it more difficult to duplicate compared to traditional keys.

Panic Bar

Panic bars are horizontal bars installed on the inside of exit doors that, when pushed, allow the door to open quickly in an emergency. They are essential for commercial buildings and public spaces.

Locksmith License

A certification or permit is required in many jurisdictions for an individual to legally work as a locksmith. Licensed locksmiths have undergone background checks and meet professional standards.