Dictionary.net

Definitions of key

  1. serving as an essential component; " a cardinal rule"; " the central cause of the problem"; " an example that was fundamental to the argument"; " computers are fundamental to modern industrial structure"
  2. a coral reef off the southern coast of Florida
  3. identify as in botany or biology, for example
  4. United States lawyer and poet who wrote a poem after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812; the poem was later set to music and entitled ` The Star- Spangled Banner' ( 1779- 1843)
  5. the central building block at the top of an arch or vault
  6. provide with a key; " We were keyed after the locks were changed in the building"
  7. a lever that actuates a mechanism when depressed
  8. mechanical device used to wind another device that is driven by a spring ( as a clock)
  9. pitch of the voice; " he spoke in a low key"
  10. something crucial for explaining; " the key to development is economic integration"
  11. a list of words or phrases that explain symbols or abbreviations
  12. any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music
  13. harmonize with or adjust to; " key one's actions to the voters' prevailing attitude"
  14. a winged often one- seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple
  15. effective; producing a desired effect; " the operative word"
  16. a generic term for any device whose possession entitles the holder to a means of access; " a safe- deposit box usually requires two keys to open it"
  17. a list of answers to a test; " some students had stolen the key to the final exam"
  18. ( basketball) a space ( including the foul line) in front of the basket at each end of a basketball court; usually painted a different color from the rest of the court; " he hit a jump shot from the top of the key"; " he dominates play in the paint"
  19. a kilogram of a narcotic drug; " they were carrying two keys of heroin"
  20. regulate the musical pitch of
  21. vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key; " His new Mercedes was keyed last night in the parking lot"
  22. An instrument by means of which the bolt of a lock is shot or drawn; usually, a removable metal instrument fitted to the mechanism of a particular lock and operated by turning in its place.
  23. An instrument which is turned like a key in fastening or adjusting any mechanism; as, a watch key; a bed key, etc.
  24. That part of an instrument or machine which serves as the means of operating it; as, a telegraph key; the keys of a pianoforte, or of a typewriter.
  25. That part of a mechanism which serves to lock up, make fast, or adjust to position.
  26. A piece of wood used as a wedge.
  27. The last board of a floor when laid down.
  28. A keystone.
  29. That part of the plastering which is forced through between the laths and holds the rest in place.
  30. A wedge to unite two or more pieces, or adjust their relative position; a cotter; a forelock.
  31. A bar, pin or wedge, to secure a crank, pulley, coupling, etc., upon a shaft, and prevent relative turning; sometimes holding by friction alone, but more frequently by its resistance to shearing, being usually embedded partly in the shaft and partly in the crank, pulley, etc.
  32. A family of tones whose regular members are called diatonic tones, and named key tone ( or tonic) or one ( or eight), mediant or three, dominant or five, subdominant or four, submediant or six, supertonic or two, and subtonic or seven. Chromatic tones are temporary members of a key, under such names as " sharp four," " flat seven," etc. Scales and tunes of every variety are made from the tones of a key.
  33. The fundamental tone of a movement to which its modulations are referred, and with which it generally begins and ends; keynote.
  34. Fig: The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.
  35. To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges.
  36. A metallic lever by which the circuit of the sending or transmitting part of a station equipment may be easily and rapidly opened and closed; any device for closing or opening an electric circuit.
  37. A simplified version or analysis which accompanies something as a clue to its explanation, a book or table containing the solutions to problems, ciphers, allegories, or the like, or a table or synopsis of conspicuous distinguishing characters of members of a taxonomic group.
  38. A bar or key, in a typewriter or typesetting machine, used for spacing between letters.
  39. An indehiscent, one- seeded fruit furnished with a wing, as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara; - called also key fruit.
  40. A metal instrument for turning a lock; an instrument by which something is turned, secured, or operated upon; that which allows or hinders entrance; as Liege was the key to Belgium; solution; as, the key to a riddle; an exact translation; a low small island; as, the Florida keys; a system of musical tones based on their relation to a note, called a keynote, from which the system is named; as, the key of G major; general pitch or tone of voice; as, men naturally speack in a lower key than women; a small lever, as an a piano, typewriter, etc., by which the instrument is made to act.
  41. Go regulate the gone of.
  42. An instrument for shutting or opening a lock: that by which something is screwed or turned: ( arch.) the middle stone of an arch: a piece of wood let into another piece crosswise to prevent warping: ( mus.) one of the small levers in musical instruments for producing notes: the fundamental note of a piece of music: that which explains a mystery: a book containing answers to exercises, etc.
  43. Instrument to fasten and open a lock; clew to any mystery; small lever of a musical instrument; proper scale of a piece of music; reef of rocks.
  44. An instrument for moving the bolt in a lock.
  45. Anything that discloses or opens something; a lever to be pressed by the finger in a musical instrument or a typewriter.
  46. A key note; quality, intensity, or pitch of tone in speaking.
  47. A low island, as of coral.
  48. A quay; wharf.
  49. A wharf; pier; artificial landing- place.
  50. Instrument for shutting or opening a lock; that or by which something is screwed or turned; the central stone of an arch which binds it; a little lever or piece in the fore part, by which the fingers play on an instrument; the fundamental note or tone, to which a piece of music is accommodated; that which serves to explain anything difficult to be understood; a solution; a translation; a ledge of wood let into the back of another across the grain, to prevent warping.
  51. A ledge of rocks near the surface of the water. See Quay.
  52. To fasten with a key. The power of the keys, the authority, assumed exclusively by the Pope, but exercised by the clergy of all churches, to grant or withhold church privilege and fellowship. The key of a position, a position the occupancy of which secures the possession of a district of country.
  53. A well- known instr. for shutting and opening locks; that which explains or solves a difficulty; the small lever in a musical instr.- as in a pianoforte; the fundamental note in a piece of music.
  54. A wharf, rather spelt quay- which see.
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Usage examples for key

  1. Got key, said the old Indian, keeping well away from the box. – Six Little Bunkers at Cowboy Jack's by Laura Lee Hope
  2. I could not bring them to you because I could not find the key. – The Children of Wilton Chase by Mrs. L. T. Meade
  3. " I'll get the key out of the cop's pocket," announced the little man. – The Gray Phantom's Return by Herman Landon
  4. You know the secret which is the key to my life. – Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  5. Rolfe, Blunt, haul in on that line- easy now, or you'll break it- and Mr. Houten, here's my cabin key. – Gold Out of Celebes by Aylward Edward Dingle
  6. At the sound of the key, however, the girl looked round and saw Wolfenden. – Mysterious Mr. Sabin by E. Phillips Oppenheim
  7. " There we touch the key of the subject. – The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of George Meredith by George Meredith
  8. He bent over the key. – The White Desert by Courtney Ryley Cooper
  9. Have you another key? – The Golden Web by Anthony Partridge
  10. Did he give you the key?" – The Charm of Ireland by Burton Egbert Stevenson
  11. " You had the key of the door all the time, of course," said Riddell. – The Willoughby Captains by Talbot Baines Reed
  12. Sophia found her key and opened the door. – The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett
  13. You know your mother's kind enough to let me have a key of the garden gate. – In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens
  14. She set the key. – The Nest, The White Pagoda, The Suicide, A Forsaken Temple, Miss Jones and The Masterpiece by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  15. He got here an hour or two after it came and must have let himself in with his own key. – The Grell Mystery by Frank Froest
  16. " I'll turn the key outside," he said. – The Orange-Yellow Diamond by J. S. Fletcher
  17. If the picture is full of light color, it is said to be in a high key. – Text Books of Art Education, Book IV (of 7) by Hugo B. Froehlich Bonnie E. Snow
  18. The key opened it at once, and inside a bag was found. – The Lifeboat by R.M. Ballantyne
  19. I've been trying for one hour to make the hall key work. – The Story Of Julia Page Works of Kathleen Norris, Volume V. by Kathleen Norris
  20. By means of a pass- key. – Who? by Elizabeth Kent
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