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key1 US English

A small piece of shaped metal with incisions cut to fit the wards of a particular lock, and that is inserted into a lock and turned to open or close it

key2 US English

A low-lying island or reef, especially in the Caribbean

Key, Francis Scott US English

(1779–1843), US lawyer and poet. A witness to the successful US defense against the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore in September 1814, he wrote the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The poem was later set to music, renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and, in 1931, adopted as the US national anthem

Key, John US English

(B.1961), New Zealand National Party statesman, Prime Minister since 2008; full name John Phillip Key

in key in key1 US English

In (or out of) harmony

in key US English

In (or out of) harmony

Alt key US English

A key on a keyboard that when pressed at the same time as another key gives the second key an alternative function

ash key US English

The winged fruit of an ash tree, growing in clusters resembling bunches of keys

key map US English

A map drawn in bare outline, to simplify the use of a full map

hot key US English

A key or a combination of keys providing quick access to a particular function within a program

off-key US English

(Of music or singing) not having the correct tone or pitch; out of tune

low-key US English

Not elaborate, showy, or intensive; modest or restrained

boss key US English

A computer game facility which enables users to avoid detection when playing at work by displaying a spreadsheet or other fake display when a certain key is pressed

chuck key US English

A small metal device for tightening the chuck of a drill so that it holds the drill bit securely

Greek key US English

A pattern of interlocking right-angled spirals

high-key US English

Having a predominance of light or bright tones

key card US English

A small plastic card that can be used instead of a door key, bearing magnetically encoded data that can be read and processed by an electronic device

key grip US English

The person in a film crew who is in charge of the camera equipment

Key Largo US English

A resort island off the southern coast of Florida, the northernmost and the longest of the Florida Keys

key light US English

The main source of light in a photograph or film

Key lime US English

A small yellowish lime with a sharp flavor

key money US English

Money paid to a landlord as an inducement by a person wishing to rent a property

key ring US English

A metal ring onto which keys may be threaded in order to keep them together

Key Stage US English

(In the UK except Scotland) any of the four fixed stages into which the national curriculum is divided, each having its own prescribed course of study. At the end of each stage, pupils are required to complete standard assessment tasks

Key West US English

A city in southern Florida, on Key West Island, at the southern tip of the Florida Keys; population 22,364 (est. 2008). It is the southernmost city in the continental US

home key US English

The basic key in which a work is written; the tonic key

meta key US English

A function key on a keyboard that is activated by simultaneously holding down a control key

church key US English

A small metal device with a triangular point at one end for punching holes in cans and a rounded edge at the other end for removing bottle caps

control key US English

A key that alters the function of another key if both are pressed at the same time

key something to in key1 US English

Make something fit in with or be linked to

be keyed up in key1 US English

Be nervous, tense, or excited, especially before an important event

key worker US English

An employee who provides a vital service, especially in the police, health, or education sectors

public key US English

A cryptographic key that can be obtained and used by anyone to encrypt messages intended for a particular recipient, such that the encrypted messages can be deciphered only by using a second key that is known only to the recipient (the private key)

master key US English

A key that opens several locks, each of which also has its own key

function key US English

A button on a computer keyboard, distinct from the main alphanumeric keys, to which software can assign a particular function

key industry US English

An industry that is essential to the functioning of others, such as the manufacture of machine tools

key signature US English

Any of several combinations of sharps or flats after the clef at the beginning of each stave indicating the key of a composition

ignition key US English

A key designed to start the engine of a motor vehicle

skeleton key US English

A key designed to fit many locks by having the interior of the bit hollowed

telegraph key US English

A button that is pressed to produce a signal when transmitting Morse code

Woodruff key US English

A key whose cross section is part circular, to fit into a curved keyway in a shaft, and part rectangular, used chiefly in machinery

key someone/something into in key1 US English

Cause someone or something to be in harmony with

Key lime pie US English

A custard pie made with the juice of Key limes

key something to US English

Make something fit in with or be linked to

in a minor key in minor US English

(Especially of a literary work) understated

in a minor key US English

(Especially of a literary work) understated

throw away the key in throw US English

Used to suggest that someone who has been put in prison should or will never be released

throw away the key US English

Used to suggest that someone who has been put in prison should or will never be released

be keyed up US English

Be nervous, tense, or excited, especially before an important event

under lock and key in lock1 US English

Securely locked up


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