(noun, adjective, verb)


1. serving as an essential component

Similar word(s): important, cardinal, central, fundamental, primal

Sentences with key as an adjective:

- He is the key player on his soccer team.

- She makes several key points.


1. metal device shaped in such a way that when it is inserted into the appropriate lock the lock's mechanism can be rotated

Definition categories: man–made, device

2. something crucial for explaining

- the key to development is economic integration

Definition categories: thought, explanation

3. pitch of the voice

- he spoke in a low key

Definition categories: attribute, pitch

4. any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music

Similar word(s): tonality

Definition categories: communication

5. a kilogram of a narcotic drug

- they were carrying two keys of heroin

Definition categories: quantity, kilo, kilogram

6. a winged often one-seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple

Similar word(s): samara

Definition categories: plant, achene

7. a coral reef off the southern coast of Florida

Similar word(s): cay

Definition categories: object

8. (basketball) a space (including the foul line) in front of the basket at each end of a basketball court; usually painted a different color from the rest of the court

- he hit a jump shot from the top of the key

Similar word(s): paint

Definition categories: location, space

9. a list of answers to a test

- some students had stolen the key to the final exam

Definition categories: communication, list, listing

10. a list of words or phrases that explain symbols or abbreviations

Definition categories: communication, list, listing

11. a generic term for any device whose possession entitles the holder to a means of access

- a safe-deposit box usually requires two keys to open it

Definition categories: communication

12. mechanical device used to wind another device that is driven by a spring (as a clock)

Similar word(s): winder

Definition categories: man–made

13. the central building block at the top of an arch or vault

Similar word(s): headstone, keystone

Definition categories: man–made

14. a lever (as in a keyboard) that actuates a mechanism when depressed

Definition categories: man–made, lever

Sentences with key as a noun:

- The key to solving this problem is persistence.

- the key to winning a game

- The key says that A stands for the accounting department.

- Some students cheated by using the answer key.

- Press the Escape key.

- the key of B-flat major

- He shoots from the top of the key.

- The coat of arms of Regensburg is gules two keys in saltire argent.

- The door panel should be sanded down carefully to provide a good key for the new paint.

- "the Florida Keys"


1. identify as in botany or biology, for example

Similar word(s): describe, discover, distinguish, identify, name

Definition categories: cognition

2. provide with a key

- We were keyed after the locks were changed in the building

Definition categories: possession, furnish, provide, render, supply

3. vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key

- His new Mercedes was keyed last night in the parking lot

Definition categories: contact, vandalise, vandalize

4. regulate the musical pitch of

Definition categories: change, chord, harmonise, harmonize

5. harmonize with or adjust to

- key one's actions to the voters' prevailing attitude

Definition categories: change, harmonise, harmonize, reconcile

Sentences with key as a verb:

- Our instructor told us to key in our user IDs.

- He keyed the car that had taken his parking spot.