Key

Definition of Key

Pronunciation:
n.1.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.
2.A small device which is inserted into a mechanism and turned like a key to fasten, adjust, or wind it; as, a watch key; a bed key; the winding key for a clock, etc.
3.One of a set of small movable parts on an instrument or machine which, by being depressed, serves as the means of operating it; the complete set of keys is usually called the keyboard; as, the keys of a piano, an organ, an accordion, a computer keyboard, or of a typewriter. The keys may operate parts of the instrument by a mechanical action, as on a piano, or by closing an electrical circuit, as on a computer keyboard. See also senses 12 and 13.
4.A position or condition which affords entrance, control, pr possession, etc.; as, the key of a line of defense; the key of a country; the key of a political situation.
Those who are accustomed to reason have got the true key of books.
- Locke.
Who keeps the keys of all the creeds.
- Tennyson.
5.That part of a mechanism which serves to lock up, make fast, or adjust to position.
6.(Arch.) A piece of wood used as a wedge.
7.(Masonry) A keystone.
8.(Mach.) A wedge to unite two or more pieces, or adjust their relative position; a cotter; a forelock.
9.(Bot.) An indehiscent, one-seeded fruit furnished with a wing, as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara; - called also key fruit.
10.(Mus.) 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.
Both warbling of one song, both in one key.
- Shak.
11.Fig: The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.
You fall at once into a lower key.
- Cowper.
12.(Teleg.) 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; as, a telegraph key.
13.any device for closing or opening an electric circuit, especially as part of a keyboard, as that used at a computer terminal or teletype terminal.
14.(Biol.) 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;
15.(Computers) A word or other combination of symbols which serves as an index identifying and pointing to a particular record, file, or location which can be retrieved and displayed by a computer program; as, a database using multi-word keys. When the key is a word, it is also called a keyword.
Key bed
Same as Key seat.
Key bolt
a bolt which has a mortise near the end, and is secured by a cotter or wedge instead of a nut.
Key bugle
See Kent bugle.
Key of a position
(Mil.) See Key, 4.
Key seat
(Mach.) a bed or groove to receive a key which prevents one part from turning on the other.
Key way
a channel for a key, in the hole of a piece which is keyed to a shaft; an internal key seat; - called also key seat.
Key wrench
(Mach.) an adjustable wrench in which the movable jaw is made fast by a key.
Power of the keys
(Eccl.) the authority claimed by the ministry in some Christian churches to administer the discipline of the church, and to grant or withhold its privileges; - so called from the declaration of Christ, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven."
- Matt. xvi. 19.
v. t.1.To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges.
[imp. & p. p. Keved ; p. pr. & vb. n. Keying.]
2.(Computers) To enter (text, data) using keys, especially those on a keyboard; to keyboard; as, to key the data in by hand.
3.To adjust so as to be maximally effective in a particular situation; - of actions, plans, or speech; as, to key one's campaign speech to each local audience.
4.To furnish with a key or keys.
To key up
a - (Arch.) To raise (the whole ring of an arch) off its centering, by driving in the keystone forcibly.
b - (Mus.) To raise the pitch of.
c - to produce nervous tension in; as, the whole team was keyed up for the championship game.
a.1.Essential; most important; as, the key fact in the inquiry; the president was the key player inthe negotiations.

Related Words

French pitch, Rasputin, Svengali, TelAutography, Teletype, Teletype network, Teletyping, VIP, access, accommodate, accord, achromatism, adapt, adjust, adjust to, aerophone, ait, amplification, archipelago, assimilate, atoll, attune, axial, bad influence, bang, bar, barricade, batten, batten down, bell, big wheel, bilingual text, bolt, bottle opener, button, button up, can opener, cast, catchword, cay, centermost, central, centralized, centric, centroidal, centrosymmetric, choke, choke off, chromatism, chromism, church key, clap, clarification, classical pitch, clavis, close, close up, closed-circuit telegraphy, clue, code, color, color balance, color harmony, color scheme, coloration, coloring, complexion, concentrated, constrict, contain, continental island, contract, coordinate, coral head, coral island, coral reef, corkscrew, court, cover, crib, critical, crucial, cue, cue word, cut to, decipherment, decoding, decorator color, depth, description, dominant, double reed, duplex telegraphy, electricity, embouchure, eminence grise, equalize, essential, evidence, explication, facsimile telegraph, faithful translation, fasten, fit, five-percenter, fix, fold, fold up, free translation, frequency, friend at court, gear to, geocentric, gloss, glossary, good influence, gray eminence, guide, harmonize, heavyweight, height, hidden hand, high pitch, hint, holm, homologate, homologize, horn, hot lead, hue, humor, important, indication, indicator, influence, influence peddler, influencer, ingroup, insularity, interlinear, interlinear translation, interrupter, intimation, island, island group, islandology, isle, islet, key signature, key to, key word, keynote, kingmaker, latch, latchkey, latchstring, legend, level, lip, lobby, lobbyist, lock, lock out, lock up, loose translation, lords of creation, low pitch, main, major, major key, make plumb, make uniform, man of influence, manipulator, master key, measure, mediant, metaphrase, middle, middlemost, midmost, minor, mood, mouthpiece, multiplex telegraphy, natural color, necessary, new philharmonic pitch, news ticker, occlude, oceanic island, omphalic, open sesame, padlock, pallor, paraphrase, passkey, password, pedal point, philharmonic pitch, philosophical pitch, pipe, pitch, pivotal, plumb, pony, powers that be, pressure group, proportion, put in tune, quadruplex telegraphy, railroad telegraphy, receiver, reconcile, rectify, reed, reef, register, regulate, restatement, rewording, right, sandbank, sandbar, scent, seal, seal off, seal up, secure, sender, set, set right, shade, shut, shut the door, shut up, similarize, simplex telegraphy, single-current telegraphy, sinister influence, skeleton key, skin color, slam, slide, snap, sounder, special interests, special-interest group, spoor, squeeze shut, standard pitch, stock ticker, strangle, style, subdominant, submarine telegraphy, submediant, subtonic, suggestion, supertonic, sync, synchronize, tailor, telegraphics, telegraphy, teleprinter, teletypewriter, teletypewriting, telex, telltale, tenor, the Establishment, ticker, ticket, timbre, tin opener, tinct, tincture, tinge, tint, tip-off, tonality, tonic, tonic key, tooter, trace, transcription, translation, transliteration, transmitter, trim to, trot, true, true up, tune, typotelegraph, typotelegraphy, umbilical, undercolor, valve, very important person, vestige, vital, wheeler-dealer, whiff, wind, wind instrument, wire service, wire-puller, zip up, zipper
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