follow Dictionary.com

Is irregardless a word?

skeleton key

noun
1.
a key with nearly the whole substance of the bit filed away so that it may open various locks.
Also called passkey.
Origin of skeleton key
1800-1810
1800-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for skeleton key
Historical Examples
  • They were so deep in thought that neither of them heard the turning of a skeleton key in the latch and the opening of the door.

  • Then a skeleton key had been used, for there was the key in the lock at this moment.

    Three People Pansy
  • He made a skeleton key with which he gained access to a loft where were stored valuable goods.

    Analyzing Character Katherine M. H. Blackford and Arthur Newcomb
  • Was there a bank official to be264 bribed or a skeleton key to be made?

    Remarkable Rogues Charles Kingston
  • With an oath, Dundee used his skeleton key to release the Yale lock with which the front door was equipped.

    Murder at Bridge Anne Austin
  • An impression of it was taken in wax by Sullivan, from which subsequently a skeleton key was made.

  • Nancy had solved that with a skeleton key bought at the five and ten.

  • One might have fancied that gloves were a kind of passport, or perhaps a skeleton key guaranteed to open principals' doors.

    The Record of Nicholas Freydon A. J. (Alec John) Dawson
  • It must have been done from the window, unless someone had a skeleton key.

  • Old King Brady pocketed the letters and proceeded to examine a trunk, which he opened with a skeleton key.

    The Bradys After a Chinese Princess Francis Worcester Doughty
British Dictionary definitions for skeleton key

skeleton key

noun
1.
a key with the serrated edge filed down so that it can open numerous locks Also called passkey
Word Origin
C19: so called because it has been reduced to its essential parts
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 of the Day

Difficulty index for skeleton key

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for skeleton

12
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for skeleton key