Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A kilogram of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.
  • noun A low offshore island or reef, especially in the Gulf of Mexico; a cay.
  • noun A notched and grooved, usually metal implement that is turned to open or close a lock.
  • noun A similar implement or an electronic device used for opening, winding, or starting something.
  • noun A device, such as a wedge or pin, inserted to lock together mechanical or structural parts.
  • noun A keycard.
  • noun A determining factor in accomplishing or achieving something.
  • noun Something that provides access to or understanding of something else.
  • noun A set of answers to a test.
  • noun A table, gloss, or cipher containing correspondences, as for decoding or interpreting something.
  • noun Computers A number used by a cryptographic algorithm to encrypt or decrypt data.
  • noun Architecture The keystone in the crown of an arch.
  • noun A button or lever that is depressed to operate a machine.
  • noun A button that is depressed to cause a corresponding character or function to be typed or executed by a typewriter or to be accepted as input by a computer.
  • noun Music A button or lever that is depressed with the finger to produce or modulate the sound of an instrument, such as a clarinet or piano.
  • noun A tonal system consisting of seven tones in fixed relationship to a tonic, having a characteristic key signature and being the structural foundation of the bulk of Western music; tonality.
  • noun The principal tonality of a work.
  • noun The pitch of a voice or other sound.
  • noun A characteristic tone or level of intensity, as of a speech or sales campaign. Often used in combination.
  • noun Botany A samara.
  • noun An outline of the distinguishing characteristics of a group of organisms, used as a guide in taxonomic identification.
  • noun Basketball An area at each end of the court between the baseline and the foul line and including the jump-ball circle at the foul line.
  • noun The act of replacing portions of a video or photograph containing a preselected color with material from a separate image, as by chroma key.
  • adjective Of crucial importance; significant.
  • intransitive verb To lock with a key.
  • intransitive verb To be the determining or crucial factor in.
  • intransitive verb Architecture To furnish (an arch) with a keystone.
  • intransitive verb Music To regulate the pitch of.
  • intransitive verb To bring into harmony; adjust or adapt.
  • intransitive verb To cause to pay attention to.
  • intransitive verb To supply with a key of correspondences or with corresponding references.
  • intransitive verb To operate (a device), as for typesetting, by means of a keyboard.
  • intransitive verb To enter (data) into a computer by means of a keyboard.
  • intransitive verb To identify (a biological specimen).
  • intransitive verb To vandalize or mar by scratching with a key.
  • intransitive verb To produce, replace, or include by chroma key.
  • intransitive verb To pay close attention; focus.
  • intransitive verb Sports To watch or cover an opposing player closely in an effort to limit the player's effectiveness. Used with on:
  • intransitive verb To replace portions of a video or photograph containing a preselected color with material from a separate image, as by chroma key.
  • idiom (in key) In consonance with other factors.
  • idiom (out of key) Not in consonance with other factors.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See Keys.
  • To fasten with a key, or with a wedge-shaped piece of wood or metal; fasten or secure firmly.
  • To regulate the tone of by the use of a key, or to set to a key or pitch in any way, as a musical instrument: as, to key up a violin.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Shortening and alteration of kilogram.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration (influenced by key, variant of quay) of Spanish cayo; see cay.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English kai, kei, from Old English cǣg.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English keye, kaye, keiȝe, from Old English cǣġ, cǣġe, cǣga ("key, solution, experiment"), from Proto-Germanic *kēkaz (“stake, post, pole”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵogh-, *ǵegh- (“branch, stake, bush”), related to Old English cǣggian ("to lock, shut"). Cognate with Scots key, kay ("key"), West Frisian kaai ("key"), North Frisian kay ("key"), Middle Low German kāk ("whipping post, pillory"), and perhaps to Middle Dutch keige ("javelin, spear"), Middle Low German keie, keige ("spear").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant of cay, from Spanish cayo.

Examples

  • _The key to the proper control of China and the building-up of the new Republican State is the railway key_ ....

    The Problem of China

  • My eye caught sight of the great key, _Pakenham's key_, lying there on the table.

    54-40 or Fight

  • Say that I made bold to assert that you did not possess the key that would unlock the sacred places of her heart; and you may add further, that I say the _key is held by another_.

    The Hand but Not the Heart

  • Get the list of values for a particular key on the current post. get_post_meta ($post_id, $key, $single = false)

    Codex - Recent changes [en]

  • KeyWait % key%, T%tout%; Wait for key to be released.

    AutoHotkey Community

  • The one that fits the bill is memcache_add () which, if a key is already added returns a failure condition. locked_mecache_update ($memcache, $key, $updateFunction, $expiryTime, $waitUTime, $maxTries) * A function to do ensure only one thing can update a memcache at a time.

    Planet PHP

  • GetKeyState, state, % key%, P; stores the state of the key to variable 'state' if state = U; The key has been released, so break out of the loop.

    AutoHotkey Community

  • A:: loop if checkkeyreleased (A_thishotkey); break; presskey ( "z"); return presskey (key, del1 = 999999, del2 = 999999); global delaybetweenfkeys, fkeydowndelay del1: = del1 = 999999? fkeydowndelay: del1; del2: = del2 = 999999? delaybetweenfkeys: del2; sendinput {% key% down}; sleep % del1%; sendinput {% key% up}; sleep % del2%; checkkeyreleased (key, checkdelay = 2)

    AutoHotkey Community

  • GetKeyState, state, % key%, P; stores the state of the key to variable 'state' if state = U; The key has been released, so break out of the loop.

    AutoHotkey Community

  • GetKeyState, state, % key%, P; stores the state of the key to variable 'state' if state = U; The key has been released, so break out of the loop.

    AutoHotkey Community

Comments

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  • ...with the mad secret of his unabated rage bolted up and keyed in him...

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 41

    July 25, 2008

  • See also cay.

    February 21, 2019