Capitol vs. capital? What's the difference?


or key word

[kee-wurd] /ˈkiˌwɜrd/
a word that serves as a key, as to the meaning of another word, a sentence, passage, or the like.
a word used to encipher or decipher a cryptogram, as a pattern for a transposition procedure or the basis for a complex substitution.
Also called catchword. Library Science. a significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of a document or other item being indexed, used as the index entry.
Digital Technology. a word used to classify or organize digital content, or to facilitate an online search for information: Search the database for the keyword “Ireland.”.
Origin of keyword
1855-60; key1 + word Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for key word
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The letter "a" is then brought under "E," which is the second letter of the key word.

    Visual Signaling Signal Corps United States Army
  • It is the safest sort of a cipher if the key word is carefully guarded.

    The Diamond Pin Carolyn Wells
  • That will give you a series of numbers which it is impossible to decipher unless you know the key word.

    On Secret Service William Nelson Taft
  • Take any key word, phrase, or sentence desired; for example, "A discovery."

    Visual Signaling Signal Corps United States Army
  • He didn't like Starret staying there—a key word or a familiar face sometimes triggers the memory.

    Forget Me Nearly Floyd L. Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for key word


a word used as a key to a code
any significant word or phrase, esp a word used to describe the contents of a document
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for key word



also key-word, 1807, from key (n.1) + word (n.). Originally in reference to codes and ciphers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for keyword

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for key

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for key word