American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Music Pitched higher or lower than the correct notes of a melody.
- adj. Being out of accord with what is considered normal or appropriate: a high-flown, off-key speech by a newcomer.
- adj. music pitched inaccurately either above or below the correct note
- adj. by extension not harmonious, or out of accord
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Deviating from the proper pitch; -- of a musical note or series of notes.
- adj. inaccurate in pitch
“In this case, it sounds as if the President blew off the question so, if it was orchestrated, the orchestra was off-key.”
“The unconscionable truth fused his mind, body and soul in a foreign uncertainty and the rhythm that had heretofore produced harmony in his life was now off-key.”
“In the decades since, the record's off-key vocals and hapless rhythms have made it both a musical punch line and, remarkably, a contrarian rallying point for inscrutable art.”
“How we watch some hundred billion stars slide left to right each night while coyotes wail off-key and bats dip and swoop in their nightly smorgasbord.”
“Worried that the normal partisan overtones at the State of the Union address would seem off-key after the Jan. 8 shooting that targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, some lawmakers sat with their colleagues across the aisle to listen to President Obama's speech.”
““You can have whatever you like,” Dyme sang off-key.”
“Eyes closed, she danced with the woman in her memory, slipping into her own off-key hum to accompany her steps when the words failed her.”
“After you play her, everyone sounds off-key, second-rate.”
“For this and a lot else we can forgive Mr. Lowe his good looks and, also, his off-key rendering of the local accent.”
“Will is no church-choir singer boy, but he has this raspy, cool, melodic style which, to our surprise, was neither pitchy or off-key.”
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