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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
1800-1810
1800-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for skeleton key
  • Itis supposed they had secured an en trance with a skeleton key.
  • The group entered a tiny side chapel and the resident architect retrieved a big skeleton key out of her pocket.
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
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12
14
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