f. s. key

World English Dictionary
key1 (kiː)
1.  a metal instrument, usually of a specifically contoured shape, that is made to fit a lock and, when rotated, operates the lock's mechanism
2.  any instrument that is rotated to operate a valve, clock winding mechanism, etc
3.  a small metal peg or wedge inserted into keyways
4.  any of a set of levers operating a typewriter, computer, etc
5.  any of the visible parts of the lever mechanism of a musical keyboard instrument that when depressed set in motion the action that causes the instrument to sound
6.  a.  Also called: tonality any of the 24 major and minor diatonic scales considered as a corpus of notes upon which a piece of music draws for its tonal framework
 b.  the main tonal centre in an extended composition: a symphony in the key of F major
 c.  the tonic of a major or minor scale
 d.  See tuning key
7.  something that is crucial in providing an explanation or interpretation: the key to adult behaviour lies in childhood
8.  a means of achieving a desired end: the key to happiness
9.  a means of access or control: Gibraltar is the key to the Mediterranean
10.  a list of explanations of symbols, codes, etc
11.  a text that explains or gives information about a work of literature, art, or music
12.  Also called: key move the correct initial move in the solution of a set problem
13.  biology a systematic list of taxonomic characteristics, used to identify animals or plants
14.  photog, painting low-key See also high-key the dominant tonal value and colour intensity of a picture
15.  electrical engineering
 a.  a hand-operated device for opening or closing a circuit or for switching circuits
 b.  a hand-operated switch that is pressed to transmit coded signals, esp Morse code
16.  the grooving or scratching of a surface or the application of a rough coat of plaster, etc, to provide a bond for a subsequent finish
17.  pitch: he spoke in a low key
18.  a characteristic mood or style: a poem in a melancholic key
19.  level of intensity: she worked herself up to a high key
20.  railways a wooden wedge placed between a rail and a chair to keep the rail firmly in place
21.  a wedge for tightening a joint or for splitting stone or timber
22.  short for keystone
23.  botany any dry winged fruit, esp that of the ash
24.  (modifier) photog determining the tonal value of a photograph: flesh colour is an important key tone
25.  of great importance; crucial: a key issue
26.  (foll by to) to harmonize (with): to key one's actions to the prevailing mood
27.  to adjust or fasten with a key or some similar device
28.  to provide with a key or keys
29.  to scratch the paintwork of (a car) with a key
30.  (often foll by up) to locate the position of (a piece of copy, artwork, etc) on a layout by the use of symbols
31.  (also intr) another word for keyboard
32.  to include a distinguishing device in (an advertisement, etc), so that responses to it can be identified
33.  to provide a keystone for (an arch)
[Old English cǣg; related to Old Frisian kēi, Middle Low German keie spear]

key2 (kiː)
a variant spelling of cay

Key (kiː)
John (Phillip). born 1961, New Zealand politician; prime minister from 2008

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"metal piece that works a lock," from O.E. cæg, of unknown origin, with no certain cognates other than O.Fris. kei. Perhaps related to M.L.G. keie "lance, spear" on notion of "tool to cleave with," from P.Gmc. *ki- "to cleaver, split" (cf. Ger. Keil "wedge," Goth. us-kijans "come forth," said of
seed sprouts, keinan "to germinate"). Figurative sense of "that which serves to open or explain" was in O.E.; meaning "that which holds together other parts" is from 1523. Musical sense of "tone, note" is 15c., but modern sense of "scale" is 1590, probably from L. clavis or Fr. clef, from use in the Guidonian system for lowest note of a scale, which is its basis (cf. keynote). Also extended to "mechanism on a musical instrument" (c.1500).

"low island," 1697, from Sp. cayo "shoal, reef," from Taino cayo "small island;" spelling infl. by M.E. key "wharf" (1306), from O.Fr. kai "sand bank" (see quay).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
key   (kē)  Pronunciation Key 
See cay.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

key definition

The main or central note of a piece of music (or part of a piece of music). Each key has its own scale, beginning and ending on the note that defines the octave of the next scale. The key of C-major uses a scale that starts on C and uses only the white keys of the piano. In a piece composed in the key of C, the music is likely to end on the note C, and certain combinations of notes based on C will predominate.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Key definition

frequently mentioned in Scripture. It is called in Hebrew _maphteah_, i.e., the opener (Judg. 3:25); and in the Greek New Testament _kleis_, from its use in shutting (Matt. 16:19; Luke 11:52; Rev. 1:18, etc.). Figures of ancient Egyptian keys are frequently found on the monuments, also of Assyrian locks and keys of wood, and of a large size (comp. Isa. 22:22). The word is used figuratively of power or authority or office (Isa. 22:22; Rev. 3:7; Rev. 1:8; comp. 9:1; 20:1; comp. also Matt. 16:19; 18:18). The "key of knowledge" (Luke 11:52; comp. Matt. 23:13) is the means of attaining the knowledge regarding the kingdom of God. The "power of the keys" is a phrase in general use to denote the extent of ecclesiastical authority.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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