key

key
I UK [kiː] / US [kɪ] noun [countable]
Word forms "key":
singular key plural keys
***
1) a small piece of metal used for opening or locking a door or a container, or for starting the engine of a vehicle

I could hear someone turning the key in the lock.

a bunch of keys

house/car keys

key to:

Where's the key to the back door?

2) [usually singular] the thing that will do most to help you to achieve something
key to:

Proper planning is the key to success.

The key to our strength lies in our members.

3)
a) one of the parts that you press on a keyboard to make it produce letters, numbers etc

Highlight the file you want and press the RETURN key.

b) one of the parts that you press on a musical instrument to make it produce sounds

piano keys

4) music a set of musical notes that are based on one particular note

a major/minor key

in the key of D sharp

5)
a) a list of signs and their meanings, for example a list of the signs that are used on a map, drawing etc
b) a list of answers to the questions in a test or in a book
See:
lock II

II UK [kiː] / US [kɪ] adjective [usually before noun] ***
very important

Foreign policy had been a key issue in the campaign.

This economic model has the following key features.

South Africa lost two key players through injury.

key to:

Women farmers are key to China's economic development.


Collocations:
Nouns frequently used with key
▪  element, factor, feature, figure, issue, point, role, word
III UK [kiː] / US [kɪ] verb [transitive]
Word forms "key":
present tense I/you/we/they key he/she/it keys present participle keying past tense keyed past participle keyed
key or key in to put information into a computer or other electronic machine using keys or a keyboard

The data will need to be keyed immediately.

Phrasal verbs:

English dictionary. 2014.

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Key — (k[=e]), n. [OE. keye, key, kay, AS. c[ae]g.] 1. An instrument by means of which the bolt of a lock is shot or drawn; usually, a removable metal instrument fitted to the mechanism of a particular lock and operated by turning in its place. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • KEY — ist das englische Wort für Schlüssel, und damit Bestandteil von Anglizismen: Key Account Key Account Manager etc. Key steht im Sinne von Cay für eine kleine flache Insel: insbesondere die Florida Keys, Inselkette im US Bundesstaat Florida, USA:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Key — may refer to: Building* Key, Carpentry: timber or metal wedges used across or between two or more members to act as a tightening agent. * Key, Painting: to rough the surface of previous coats of paint to allow a secure bond for the next or top… …   Wikipedia

  • Key — ist das englische Wort für Schlüssel, und damit Bestandteil von Anglizismen: Key Account Key Account Manager etc. Key steht im Sinne von Cay für eine kleine flache Insel: insbesondere die Florida Keys, Inselkette im US Bundesstaat Florida, USA:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • KeY — is a formal software development tool that aims to integrate design, implementation, formal specification, and formal verification of object oriented software. It supports programs written in Java (more precisely: in a superset of Java Card) and… …   Wikipedia

  • key — key1 [kē] n. pl. keys [ME keye < OE cæge, akin to OFris kei, kēia, to secure, guard] 1. an instrument, usually of metal, for moving the bolt of a lock and thus locking or unlocking something 2. any of several instruments or mechanical devices… …   English World dictionary

  • key to — ˈkey to [transitive] usually passive [present tense I/you/we/they key to he/she/it keys to present participle keying to past tense keyed to …   Useful english dictionary

  • Key — Key, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Keved}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Keying}.] 1. To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges. Francis. [1913 Webster] 2. (Computers) To enter (text, data) using keys, especially those on a keyboard; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • key — adj: of vital importance (as in a business organization) esp. so as to be specially insured to the benefit of an employer key man key employee insurance Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • key — Ⅰ. key [1] ► NOUN (pl. keys) 1) a small piece of shaped metal which is inserted into a lock and rotated to open or close it. 2) an instrument for grasping and turning a screw, peg, or nut. 3) a lever depressed by the finger in playing an… …   English terms dictionary

  • key — key, a. Essential; most important; as, the key fact in the inquiry; the president was the key player inthe negotiations. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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