• (401) 273-7233
  • atlanticlocksmithsllc@gmail.com

Frequently Used Locksmith Terms in RI & MA

Frequently Used Locksmith Terms


Access card: A card used for entry

Access control: Regulating entry through an entrance/exit

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act. These are guidelines for accessibility. The specifications can be found at http://www.ADA.gov.

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

Asylum Function: Deadlocking latch bolt is operated by a key from either side. Both sides of the knob/lever are always inoperable


Backset: The distance between the edge of the door to the center of the 2-1/8” hole for the hardware. Measure very carefully.

Biometric: Refers to a lock that uses a form of physical input (i.e. a fingerprint) as well as mechanical components.

Bitting: Cuts in a key

Bitting Depth: Depth of each cut in a key

Bumping: There exists a “bump key” that used to be available exclusively to locksmiths, but thanks to the internet has recently become available to the general public. A bump key opens low grade/low cost locks quickly and easily. These are the locks sold at hardware and home improvement stores. The availability of tools like the bump key is the reason we caution against buying the inexpensive consumer grade locks. This is why we refuse to carry cheap locks. Raising you level of security by choosing pick resistant or pick proof locks is the best way to protect your home. This is truly an area where you get what you pay for. The few extra dollars you spend on quality locks for your home is nothing compared to what you stand to lose if your house is broken into. Be smart.


Classroom Function: The outside of the knob or lever is locked and unlocked by a key only. There is no thumb turn on the inside. Regardless of whether the lock is engaged, you may always exit freely.


Deadbolt: A manually operated bolt that cannot be forced back without being unlocked either by a key or a thumb turn.

Deadlatch: The latch bolt is held in position by a mechanism that allows it to act as a bolt.

Door Closer: Automatically closes doors without manual assistance.

Dormitory Function: Deadlocking latch bolt by knob/lever except when locked by push button on inside knob/lever. Key in outside knob/lever both locks and unlocks knob/lever on the outside and releases the push button on the inside. Closing the door also releases the push button on the inside. The inside knob/lever is always free.

Double sided deadbolt: While a common deadbolt has a key on one side and a thumb turn on the other, a double sided deadbolt is keyed on both sides of the door. When getting a double sided deadbolt rekeyed, bear in mind that there are two cylinders to be rekeyed instead of one so the cost is higher.

Dummy Function: The dummy function knob or ever is generally installed on doors that do not operate, closet doors or on the non-locking side of French doors. The handles do not turn, as there is no latch to throw. The hardware is simply there to pull a door open.


Electric Strike: Electric door locking device that unlocks the door when power is applied to it.



Grade 1: Locks rated for commercial applications. They meet commercial building requirements. These locks are tested to 800,000 cycles and are vandal resistant which makes them well suited for trouble areas.

Grade 2: Locks are designed for light duty commercial (interior) and heavy duty residential. Commercially they are good for light duty doors such as offices. They are the preferred grade for residential over grade 3 locks.

Grade 3: Light duty residential locks. They should never be used for commercial applications. The effective security of grade 3 locks in high debate among security professionals. Security is not the place to be cheap. Why would you spend $3000 on a flat screen TV and $15 on the cheapest front door lock you can find? 



Handing: There are 4 types of door handing. You will need to know this information when ordering doors and some types of door hardware. Stand on the outside of the door and see which of the following hands applies.

A)  Right hand – Hinge is on the right and the door opens in

B)   Left hand – Hinge is on the left and the door opens in

C)   Right hand reverse – Hinge is on the right and door opens out

D)  Left hand reverse – Hinge is on the left and door opens out



I/C core: Interchangeable core. No tools are required to remove this core. Core is removed using a key.



Keyed alike: If you have more than one lock on the same keyway it is possible to rekey them so the same key opens all of the locks. This is convenient if you have several locks in the house and you don’t want to keep track of several keys to open them all.

Keyway: The area of the lock cylinder where the key is inserted. Each brand has several different keyways. Usually you can find your keyway by looking at the tiny print on your key. The most common keyways are SC1, KW1 and AR1.

Kick Plate: A protective plate that is mounted on a door to prevent or minimize damage.



Master key system: With many locks of the same keyway, it is possible to key them so they each have their own separate key, yet there is one key that will open them all. This is commonly used in apartments and offices. 

Mortise Cylinder: A threaded cylinder used n mortise locks.




Passage Function: Latch bolt is operated by the knob/lever on either side.



Rekey: Change the combination of a lock to fit a new key.


Sidewinder: A automotive key with bitting milled into the wide side of the key

Spring Hinge: A hinge that applies a closing force on a door.

Storeroom Function: Knob/lever is always locked from the outside. Uses a key to turn knob/lever, but automatically relocks on the outside. Inside knob/lever operates freely preventing lock-ins. 


Throw: The measurement of the distance (projection) of a deadbolt or latch.

Thumbturn: A piece turned by hand that operates the deadbolt or latch.