In a database, a deadlock is a situation in which two or more transactions are waiting for one another to give up locks.
For example, Transaction A might hold a lock on some rows in the Accounts table and needs to update some rows in the Orders table to finish. Transaction B holds locks on those very rows in the Orders table but needs to update the rows in the Accounts table held by Transaction A. Transaction A cannot complete its transaction because of the lock on Orders. Transaction B cannot complete its transaction because of the lock on Accounts. All activity comes to a halt and remains at a standstill forever unless the DBMS detects the deadlock and aborts one of the transactions.