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[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.”.
Also, key word.
1855-60; key1 + word Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for keywords
  • It didn't seem to matter to them that a software algorithm-not a human being-was scanning your messages for keywords.
  • Then set email filter to bounce all mail with keywords related to the argument.
  • The government often tries to rein them in during crises by blocking the use of sensitive keywords.
  • Search engines are pretty good at matching keywords with relevant websites.
  • Current methods of searching used by more traditional engines focus on isolated keywords and broad but shallow content coverage.
  • Delicious can create a living, breathing archive of relevant information surrounding important keywords.
  • Then you select the keywords that will determine which searchers see your ad.
  • Use simple keywords to describe the subject of your posts.
  • Not only that: less-qualified candidates can game the system by loading their résumés with the right keywords.
  • Computers scan resumes and cover letters for certain keywords, and tag candidates with the best fit.
British Dictionary definitions for keywords


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
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Word Origin and History for keywords



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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