What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[kee, key, kwey] /ki, keɪ, kweɪ/
a landing place, especially one of solid masonry, constructed along the edge of a body of water; wharf.
Origin of quay
1690-1700; spelling variant (after French quai) of earlier kay (also key, whence the modern pronunciation) < Old French kay, cay; akin to Spanish cayo shoal. See key2
Related forms
quaylike, adjective
Can be confused
cay, key, quay.
pier, dock, landing, levee.


[kwey] /kweɪ/
Matthew Stanley, 1833–1904, U.S. politician: senator 1887–99, 1901–4. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for quay
  • There was no sign of rock stars on the quay on this cold evening.
  • Another irresistible temptation was a mysterious cafe at the end of the quay.
  • We picked up weights and tanks from the hotel dive shop and did a test dive off the quay.
  • Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.
  • And a declining number of fishermen still tend their nets on weekends down by the quay.
  • Locate your departure quay by scanning the electric schedule signs in the station.
  • The village meanders along the road up from the harborside castle and quay.
  • Three teams of trained divers were brought in to install scour protection at the base of the new quay wall.
  • Castle quay is a shopping centre located in the centre of banbury.
British Dictionary definitions for quay


a wharf, typically one built parallel to the shoreline Compare pier (sense 1)
Word Origin
C14 keye, from Old French kai, of Celtic origin; compare Cornish hedge, fence, Old Breton cai fence
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 quay

1690s, variant of Middle English key, keye, caye "wharf" (c.1300; mid-13c. in place names), from Old North French cai (Old French chai, 12c., Modern French quai) "sand bank," from Gaulish caium (5c.), from Old Celtic *kagio- "to encompass, enclose" (cf. Welsh cae "fence, hedge," Cornish ke "hedge"), from PIE *kagh- "to catch, seize; wickerwork, fence" (see hedge (n.)). Spelling altered in English by influence of French quai.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for quay

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for quay

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with quay

Nearby words for quay