- Important, salient.
"She makes several key points."
- Indispensable, supremely important.
"He is the key player on his soccer team."
- One of a string of small islands.
""the Florida Keys""
- That part of the plastering which is forced through between the laths and holds the rest in place.
- (music) One of a number of rectangular moving parts on a piano or musical keyboard, each causing a particular sound or note to be produced.
- The degree of roughness, or retention ability of a surface to have applied a liquid such as paint, or glue.
"The door panel should be sanded down carefully to provide a good key for the new paint."
- (figuratively) The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.
- (cryptography) A piece of information (e.g. a passphrase) used to encode or decode a message or messages.
- (computing) A value that uniquely identifies an entry in an associative array.
- An object designed to open and close a lock.
- (slang) Kilogram (though this is more commonly shortened to kay).
- A crucial step or requirement.
"the key to winning a game"
- (masonry) A keystone.
- (computing) One of several small, usually square buttons on a typewriter or computer keyboard, mostly corresponding to text characters.
"Press the Escape key."
- (heraldic charge) The object used to open or close a lock, often used as a heraldic charge.
"The coat of arms of Regensburg is gules two keys in saltire argent."
- (music) A hierarchical scale of musical notes on which a composition is based.
"the key of B-flat major"
- (historical) A manual electrical switching device primarily used for the transmission of Morse code.
- (computing) In a relational database, a field used as an index into another table (not necessarily unique).
- (biology) A series of logically organized groups of discriminating information which aims to allow the user to correctly identify a taxon.
- A crucial step or requirement.
"The key to solving this problem is persistence."
- (architecture) The last board of a floor when laid down.
- A guide to the correct answers of a worksheet or test.
"Some students cheated by using the answer key."
- Alternative form of quay
- (rail transport) A wooden support for a rail on the bullhead rail system.
- (music) One of various levers on a musical instrument used to select notes, such as a lever opening a hole on a woodwind.
- (botany) An indehiscent, one-seeded fruit furnished with a wing, such as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara.
- (Internet) A password restricting access to an IRC channel.
- (basketball) The free-throw lane together with the circle surrounding the free-throw line, the free-throw lane having formerly been narrower, giving the area the shape of a skeleton key hole.
"He shoots from the top of the key."
- An object designed to fit between two other objects (such as a shaft and a wheel) in a mechanism and maintain their relative orientation.
- (architecture) A piece of wood used as a wedge.
- A guide explaining the symbols or terminology of a map or chart; a legend.
"The key says that A stands for the accounting department."
- To fit (a lock) with a key.
- (telegraphy and radio telegraphy) To depress (a telegraph key).
- (colloquial) To vandalize (a car, etc.) by scratching with an implement such as a key.
"He keyed the car that had taken his parking spot."
- To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges.
- To mark or indicate with a symbol indicating membership in a class.
- (computing) (more usually to key in) To enter (information) by typing on a keyboard or keypad.
"Our instructor told us to key in our user IDs."
- (intransitive, biology, chiefly taxonomy) To be identified as a certain taxon when using a key.
- To fit (pieces of a mechanical assembly) with a key to maintain the orientation between them.
- (radio) To operate (the transmitter switch of a two-way radio).
- To link (as one might do with a key or legend).