Denotation vs. Connotation


[kee-hohl] /ˈkiˌhoʊl/
a hole for inserting a key in a lock, especially one in the shape of a circle with a rectangle having a width smaller than the diameter of the circle projecting from the bottom.
Also called key. Basketball. the area at each end of the court that is bounded by two lines extending from the end line parallel to and equidistant from the sidelines and terminating in a circle around the foul line.
extremely private or intimate, especially with reference to information gained as if by peeping through a keyhole.
snooping and intrusive:
a keyhole investigator.
Origin of keyhole
1585-95; key1 + hole Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for keyhole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Rollo, to whom La Giralda had given the key, stooped to fit it into the keyhole.

    The Firebrand S. R. Crockett
  • Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot in like a white-hot arrow.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • During the fierce combat which has just taken place, I put my ear to the keyhole to try to hear your voice.

    The Cid Campeador Antonio de Trueba
  • The key rattled at the keyhole and then dropped to the floor.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • Then he quickly jumped up and untied Hortense and Andy, and then tried his point in the keyhole.

  • You say you looked through the keyhole and saw her take the money?

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
British Dictionary definitions for keyhole


an aperture in a door or a lock case through which a key may be passed to engage the lock mechanism
any small aperture resembling a keyhole in shape or function
a transient column of vapour or plasma formed during the welding or cutting of materials, using high energy beams, such as lasers
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
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Word Origin and History for keyhole

1590s, from key (n.1) + hole (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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