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key

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
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English

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A key

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Old English cǣġ.

Noun

Singular
key

Plural
{{{1}}}

key ({{{1}}})
  1. An object designed to open and close a lock.
  2. An object designed to fit between two other objects (such as a shaft and a wheel) in a mechanism and maintain the orientation between them.
  3. A crucial step or requirement.
    the key to solving this problem...
    the key to winning this game
  4. A guide explaining the symbols or terminology of a map or chart.
    The key says that A stands for the accounting department.
  5. One of several small, usually square buttons on a typewriter or computer keyboard, most of which generally correspond to a particular character.
    Press the Escape key.
  6. One of a number of rectangular moving parts on a piano or musical keyboard, each causing a particular sound or note to be produced.
  7. One of various levers on a musical instrument used to select notes, such as a lever opening a hole on a woodwind.
  8. (music) A hierarchical scale of musical notes on which a composition is based
    the key of B-flat major
  9. A device used to transmit Morse code.
  10. (cryptography) A piece of information (e.g. a passphrase) used to encode or decode a message or messages.
  11. (computing): In a database, a field of a relation constrained to be unique.
  12. (computing): In a database, a field in a record that is used as a search argument (but is not necessarily unique).
  13. (computing): A value that uniquely identifies an entry in an associative array.
  14. (basketball): The free-throw lane together with the circle surrounding the freethrow line, the freethrow lane having formerly been narrower, giving the area the shape of a skeleton key hole.
    He shoots from the top of the key.
  15. (slang): kilogram
Derived terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
See also

Adjective

key (comparative {{{1}}}, superlative {{{2}}})

Positive
key

Comparative
{{{1}}}

Superlative
{{{2}}}

  1. Indispensable.
    He is the key player for his soccer team.
    He is the key witness.
  2. Important, salient.
    She makes several key points
Translations

Verb

Infinitive
to key

Third person singular
-

Simple past
-

Past participle
-

Present participle
-

to key (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. To fit (a lock) with a key.
  2. To fit (pieces of a mechanical assembly) with a key to maintain the orientation between them.
  3. (telegraphy and radio telegraphy) To depress (a telegraph key).
  4. (radio) To operate (the transmitter switch of a two-way radio).
  5. (computing): (more usually to key in) To enter (information) by typing on a keyboard or keypad.
    Our instructor told us to key in our user IDs.
  6. (colloquial) To use a key as a tool of convenience.
    He keyed the car that had taken his parking spot.
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 2

Variant of cay, from Spanish cayo.

Alternative spellings

Noun

Singular
key

Plural
{{{1}}}

key ({{{1}}})
  1. One of a string of small islands.
    "the Florida Keys"
Translations

Kurdish

Soranî Kurdish

Adverb

key

  1. when

Elsewhere on the web

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