from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small key with a square tube to fit the winding-arbor of a watch, serving to wind the watch by coiling the main-spring.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • His step-father still wore, after the fashion of the Empire, his watch in the fob of his trousers, from which there depended over his abdomen a heavy gold chain, ending in a bunch of heterogeneous ornaments, seals, and a watch-key with a round top and flat sides, on which was a landscape in mosaic.

    A Start in Life

  • A watch-key pressed firmly on the point stung by a scorpion extracts the poison, and a mixture of fat or oil and ipecacuanha relieves the pain.

    Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa

  • Another, a tall man, lies on a sofa beside a table on which are empty bottles, and plays with his watch-key.

    The Cossacks

  • ‘Which you will again make a mess of,’ said the man who lay on the sofa playing with his watch-key.

    The Cossacks

  • Here the doctor winked at her again, but she returned his gaze so firmly and wrathfully that he soon lowered it and went on playing with his watch-key.


  • Over and over the father appeals to the village physician to know what the chances may be, -- to which that old gentleman, fumbling his watch-key, and looking grave, makes very doubtful response.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866

  • Crawford declared this was the only portrait of Washington which literally represented his costume; having recently examined the uniform, sword, etc., he was enabled to identify the strands of the epaulette, the number of buttons, and even the peculiar seal and watch-key.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 02, No. 08, June 1858

  • I went to my office, and sat there all day, stupid, only twirling my watch-key, and repeating to myself, -- 'A gold dollar!

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 07, No. 40, February, 1861

  • The long and the short of it is, perhaps, that music, being a universal art, like a universal watch-key, will set going the complicated cogs and springs of every soul and yet not regulate or assure its rhythm.

    The Love Affairs of Great Musicians

  • One end is conical, and there is a small hole at the apex which seems to contain a steel point; the other end is flat, but has in the centre a small square projection such as might fit a watch-key.

    The Red Thumb Mark


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