General English

General Science

  • noun a set of questions to enable something to be identified or classified


  • noun a piece of metal used to open a lock


  • noun the part of a computer or typewriter which you press with your fingers

Cars & Driving

  • noun a metal instrument for turning locks and key-operated switches
  • noun a small peg or wedge that fits into a keyway
  • noun an L-shaped tool for turning recessed screws (e.g. Allen key)
  • noun a roughened surface which provides a basis for subsequent layers of paint or filler
  • verb to adhere to a lower layer


  • noun an important object or group of characters in a computer system, used to represent an instruction or set of data
  • noun a special combination of numbers or characters that are used with a cipher to encrypt or decrypt a message
  • noun an identification code or word used for a stored record or data item


  • The removable actuating device of a lock.
  • A wedge of wood or metal inserted in a joint to limit movement.
  • A keystone.
  • A wedge or pin through the protruding part of a projecting tenon to secure its hold.
  • A back piece on a board to prevent warping.
  • The tapered last board in a sequence of floorboards that, when driven into place, serves to hold the others in place.
  • The roughened underside of veneer or other similar material intended to aid in bonding.
  • In plastering, that portion of cementitious material that is forced into the openings of the backing lath.
  • A small, usually squared piece that simultaneously fits into the keywaysor grooves of a rotating shaft and the pulley.


  • A crucial or indispensable element.
  • A device part, such as a wedge or pin, which is inserted into a slot or groove for locking, securing, tightening, guiding, or adjusting.
  • A button, lever, or handle which is depressed or pressed, to open or close a circuit, to actuate a mechanism, or the like. Also called switching key.
  • A button, such as that on a keyboard or keypad, which is depressed to provide an input or an action.
  • In databases, an identifier for one or more records or files.
  • In computer and communications security, a variable-length bit string which is utilized for encryption and decryption.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a button on a computer keyboard which is pressed to operate the machine
  • verb to type information using a computer or typesetting machine


  • adjective the part of a computer or typewriter which you press with your fingers

Media Studies

  • noun the strength of tone of an image, especially with regard to its colour intensity
  • verb to mark symbols on the layout of artwork, or anything to be reproduced, to show the correct locations of its different parts


  • noun an instrument used to operate a lock or to start an engine or motor
  • noun an explanatory list of symbols which are shown on a map


  • noun the screw that controls the amount of ink flowing from the fountain in a printing press
  • noun an alternative term for the colour black
  • verb to use letters or numbers in the spaces on a layout to refer to the loose pieces of copy, illustrations etc that should be there

Real Estate

  • noun a metal bar with notches or grooves that, when inserted into a lock and turned, operates the lock’s mechanism
  • noun the process of preparing a surface, usually by making it rough or grooved, so that paint or some other finish will stick to it


  • adjective essential, emblematic or supreme. A preppie term of approval or endorsement.
  • noun a kilo of an illicit drug, typically marihuana, which could be bought by street dealers in this quantity (in Britain the standard quantity is the non-metric weight)

Origin & History of “key”

The Old English ancestor of key was cǣg. this produced a modern English word which to begin with was pronounced to rhyme with bay, and its present-day pronunciation, rhyming with bee, did not come to the fore until the 18th century. No one knows where the word originally came from; it has no living relatives in other Germanic languages.