Non-technical summaryResilience is a cross-disciplinary concept that is relevant for understanding the sustainability of the social and environmental conditions in which we live. Most research normatively focuses on building or strengthening resilience, despite growing recognition of the importance of breaking the resilience of, and thus transforming, unsustainable social-ecological systems. Undesirable resilience (cf. lock-ins, social-ecological traps), however, is not only less explored in the academic literature, but its understanding is also more fragmented across different disciplines. This disparity can inhibit collaboration among researchers exploring interdependent challenges in sustainability sciences. In this article, we propose that the term lock-in may contribute to a common understanding of undesirable resilience across scientific fields.