Meaning of KEY in English

KEY

/ kiː; NAmE / noun , verb , adjective

■ noun

TOOL FOR LOCK

1.

a specially shaped piece of metal used for locking a door, starting a car, etc. :

to insert / turn the key in the lock

the car keys

a bunch of keys

the spare key to the front door

We'll have a duplicate key cut (= made) .

MOST IMPORTANT THING

2.

[ usually sing. ] key (to sth) a thing that makes you able to understand or achieve sth

SYN secret :

The key to success is preparation.

The driver of the car probably holds the key to solving the crime.

( especially NAmE )

The key is , how long can the federal government control the inflation rate?

ON COMPUTER

3.

any of the buttons that you press to operate a computer or typewriter :

Press the return key to enter the information.

ON MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

4.

any of the wooden or metal parts that you press to play a piano and some other musical instruments

—picture at saxophone

MUSIC

5.

a set of related notes, based on a particular note. Pieces of music are usually written mainly using a particular key :

a sonata in the key of E flat major

—compare scale noun (7)

ANSWERS

6.

a set of answers to exercises or problems :

Check your answers in the key at the back of the book.

ON MAP

7.

an explanation of the symbols used on a map or plan

—see also low-key

IDIOMS

see lock noun

■ verb [ vn ]

1.

key sth (in) | key sth (into sth) to put information into a computer using a keyboard

SYN enter :

Key (in) your password.

2.

to deliberately damage a car by scratching it with a key

PHRASAL VERBS

- key sb/sth to sth

■ adjective

[ usually before noun ] most important; essential

SYN critical , vital :

the key issue / factor / point

He was a key figure in the campaign.

She played a key role in the dispute.

'Caution' is the key word in this situation.

Good communication is key to our success.

His contribution could be key.

➡ note at main

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English cǣg , cǣge , of unknown origin.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.