Meaning of KEY in English


key 1

/kee/ , n. , pl. keys , adj., v., keyed, keying .


1. a small metal instrument specially cut to fit into a lock and move its bolt.

2. any of various devices resembling or functioning as a key: the key of a clock.

3. See key card .

4. something that affords a means of access: the key to happiness.

5. something that secures or controls entrance to a place: Gibraltar is the key to the Mediterranean.

6. something that affords a means of clarifying a problem.

7. a book, pamphlet, or other text containing the solutions or translations of material given elsewhere, as testing exercises.

8. a systematic explanation of abbreviations, symbols, etc., used in a dictionary, map, etc.: pronunciation key. Cf. legend (def. 4).

9. the system, method, pattern, etc., used to decode or decipher a cryptogram, as a code book, machine setting, or key word.

10. one of a set of marked parts, designated areas, or levers pressed in operating a typewriter, computer terminal, calculator, etc.

11. a manually operated lever for opening and closing an electric circuit, used to produce signals in telegraphy.

12. Music.

a. (in a keyboard instrument) one of the levers that when depressed by the performer sets in motion the playing mechanism.

b. (on a woodwind instrument) a metal lever that opens and closes a vent.

c. the relationship perceived between all tones in a given unit of music and a single tone or a keynote; tonality.

d. the principal tonality of a composition: a symphony in the key of C minor.

e. the keynote or tonic of a scale.

13. tone or pitch, as of voice: to speak in a high key.

14. mood or characteristic style, as of expression or thought: He writes in a melancholy key.

15. degree of intensity, as of feeling or action.

16. a pin, bolt, wedge, or other piece inserted in a hole or space to lock or hold parts of a mechanism or structure together; a cotter.

17. a small piece of steel fitting into matching slots of a hub of a wheel or the like and the shaft on which the wheel is mounted so that torque is transmitted from one to the other.

18. a contrivance for grasping and turning a bolt, nut, etc.

19. Computers. a field or group of characters within a record that identifies the record, establishing its position among sorted records, and/or provides information about its contents.

20. (in a series of advertisements or announcements soliciting replies) a unique code inserted for each medium used, to determine the relative effectiveness of the media.

21. Elect.

a. a device for opening and closing electrical contacts.

b. a hand-operated switching device ordinarily formed of concealed spring contacts with an exposed handle or push button, capable of switching one or more parts of a circuit.

22. Biol. a systematic tabular classification of the significant characteristics of the members of a group of organisms to facilitate identification and comparison.

23. Masonry. a keystone.

24. Archit. (in a ribbed vault) a stone, as a boss, at the intersection of two or more ribs.

25. Masonry , Carpentry. a wedge, as for tightening a joint or splitting a stone or timber.

26. Carpentry. a small piece of wood set into a timber across the grain to prevent warping.

27. Building Trades. any grooving or roughness applied to a surface to improve its bond with another surface.

28. Basketball. keyhole (def. 2).

29. Photog. the dominant tonal value of a picture, a high-key picture having light tonal values and minimal contrast and a low-key picture being generally dark with minimal contrast.

30. Painting. the tonal value and intensity of a color or range of colors: Rembrandt's colors are characterized by their low key.

31. Bot. a samara.

32. ( cap. ) a member of the House of Keys.

33. keys , spiritual authority.

34. power of the keys , the authority of a pope in ecclesiastical matters, vested in him as successor of St. Peter.


35. chief; major; important; essential; fundamental; pivotal: a key person in the company; key industries.


36. to regulate or adjust (actions, thoughts, speech, etc.) to a particular state or activity; bring into conformity: to key one's speech to the intellectual level of the audience.

37. Music. to regulate the key or pitch of.

38. Painting.

a. to paint (a picture) in a given key.

b. to adjust the colors in (a painting) to a particular hue: He keyed the painting to brown.

39. to fasten, secure, or adjust with a key, wedge, or the like, as parts of a mechanism.

40. to provide with a key.

41. (in the layout of newspapers, magazines, etc.) to identify, through signs or symbols, the positions of illustrations or pieces of copy in a dummy.

42. to lock with or as if with a key.

43. Masonry. to provide (an arch or vault) with a keystone.

44. Computers. keyboard (def. 4).


45. to use a key.

46. Computers. keyboard (def. 4).

47. key in , Computers. keyboard (def. 4).

48. key on ,

a. Football. to watch the position and movements of an opponent in order to anticipate a play: The defensive backs keyed on the star receiver.

b. Also, key in on . to single out as of prime importance or interest; be intent on or obsessed with: a company that is keyed in on growth.

49. key up ,

a. to bring to a particular degree of intensity of feeling, excitement, energy, nervousness, agitation, etc.: keyed up over the impending test.

b. to raise (a piece of masonry) by the insertion of a wedge or wedges.

c. to raise (the haunches of an arch) by the insertion of a voussoir.

[ bef. 900; ME key ( e ), kay ( e ), OE caeg, caege; c. OFris kei, kai ]

Syn. 6. answer, explanation, resolution, clue.

key 2

/kee/ , n. , pl. keys .

a reef or low island; cay.

[ 1690-1700; cayo, prob. ]

key 3

/kee/ , n. , pl. keys . Slang.

a kilogram of marijuana or a narcotic drug.

[ 1965-70, Amer.; shortening and resp. of KILOGRAM ]

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .