Asked in
Idioms, Cliches, and Slang
Word and Phrase Origins
Famous Quotations

What does the phrase locked and loaded mean?


User Avatar
Wiki User
March 11, 2014 6:47PM

This term originated in the military and meant that your M-16 had the magazine in place and was ready to fire. The order to "lock and load" means to get ready for action.

If you are "locked and loaded," it means you are ready for whatever comes next.

The term was in use before the M-16. Many western stories and movies have used the saying for rifles as well as for wagons. It also has been used as an old sailing term for the storage of goods being locked into place and loaded aboard.