From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishkeykey1 /kiː/ ●●● S1 W2 noun [countable] 1 key.jpg lockD a small specially shaped piece of metal that you put into a lock and turn in order to lock or unlock a door, start a car etchouse/car keys I lost my house keys. A bunch of keys hung from his belt.key to I can lend you a spare key to the store until you get one cut (=made).Don’t say ‘the key of’ something. Say the key to something. master key2 the key3 computerAPMT the buttons that you press on a computer keyboard to operate the computer Press the ‘Escape’ key to key/shortcut key (=a special key on a computer, that does specific things)4 music a) [usually plural] the wooden or metal parts that you press on a piano and some wind instruments in order to play them piano keys b) a scale of notes that begins with one particular note, or the quality of sound this scale has a tune in the key of A minor5 map/drawingEXPLAIN a list of the signs, colours etc used on a map or technical drawing etc that explains what they mean6 testTCANSWER/REPLY the printed answers to a test or set of questions in a book7 island [usually plural]SG a small flat island, especially one that is part of a group near the coast the Florida KeysCOLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/NOUN + key a spare key (=an extra key)Never hide your spare key under the doormat.door keyI’ll get a new door key cut for keysShe left her car keys on the hall keysI’ve lost my house keys.the front/back door keyShe felt in her pocket for the front door key.the ignition key (=the key that starts a car or engine)Sam turned the ignition key and drove slowly away.phrasesa bunch/set of keys (=a group of keys kept together)He took out a huge bunch of keys and unlocked the door.the key to a door/house/cupboard (=the key that opens a door/house/cupboard)Has anyone seen the key to the garage door?verbsput a key in a lock/the doorI put the key in the lock, but it wouldn’t turn.insert a key formal (=put it in a lock)She inserted the key into the lock.turn a keyHe climbed into his car and turned the key.cut a key (=make one)Could you get a key cut for me?jangle your keys (=move them so they make a ringing sound)He walked off down the corridor, jangling his keys.a key unlocks/opens somethingThe largest key unlocks the front door.a key turnsWe heard the key turn in the lock.
Examples from the Corpus
keySecondly, the computer keyboard has many additional keys which are used to alter the function of the alpha-numeric keys.Type in your PIN code, then press the ENTER key.Then she saw a little glass table with three legs, and on the top of it was a very small gold key.a minor keyMy plastic key wouldn't open my hotel room.Any set of search keys for a document can be described as a document profile.These socialist writings showed me the key to my environment.spare keyIt had temporarily slipped my mind, but some one did have a spare key some while ago.Leave a spare key with a trustworthy neighbour.So this was his spare key, the one he kept at the Vicarage.Remember that I had always intended to leave spare key with the Twills next door but never got round to it.Do you leave spare keys in hiding places outside the house?Eventually, the spare key was found and they were released from the clutches of the car.Soon she took my visits for granted and I was given the spare key to let myself in the door.
keykey2 ●●○ S3 W2 adjective [no comparative] IMPORTANTvery important or necessary China’s support is key to the success of the coalition.key factor/points/questions etc The president makes all the key decisions on foreign policy.key role/player/figure etc (=one with a lot of influence on a result) The show has been hit by the departure of key personnel.see thesaurus at important, main low-keyCOLLOCATIONSnounsa key factor (=a very important factor)A key factor in starting any business is its location.a key element/feature/component (=a very important part)Advertising is a key element in the success of a product.a key roleSanders played a key role in the team’s winning season.a key areaWhat are the key areas of economic policy?a key issue/question/pointThe environment became a key issue during the election.a key figure (=a key person)She was a key figure in the election campaign.a key playerHe won’t leave key players out of the team.a key witness (=someone who can give important information about a crime)She will be a key witness in the murder trial.a key decisionWomen made most of the key decisions about how money was spent in the household.a key word (=an important or useful word)Once you know the key words, you can make your own sentence.
Examples from the Corpus
keyFrom the early 1960s the party had seen the issue of civil liberties as a key area of agitation.Transport and communications are key areas of the economy.the area's key businessesA key card numbering the various positions was mounted on the top of the tachistoscope.Communication is key for the newspaper team.A law on salaries which was passed on Dec. 26,1989, was deemed to be of key importance.Education is likely to be a key issue in the forthcoming election.We don't have much time, so let's concentrate on the key issues.He would dispose of it and a key item of evidence would be gone for good.What are the key leadership skills?The system comprises three key modules, which are centred on the Network Control System Console.The key person in this project will be the design manager.He held a key position in the Bush administration.Many of the key terms and debates that take place throughout the book are introduced.Laws are key to maintaining an orderly society.key role/player/figure etcWinter had wanted to introduce a budgetary control system based on monthly management accounts with the emphasis on key figures.Thus, product prices play a key role in determining the expenditure patterns of consumers.Those visiting the current exhibit will learn that black churches and their leaders played key roles in local history.Lucia Walker is one of the key figures in the development of contact improvisation in this country.The project high-lighted the key role of the expert advisors which are used by farm managers in undertaking their roles.Mr Strine also gives readers excuses for his losses, such as injuries to key players or even the weather.We don't have one key player that makes big plays every week.Social workers have a key role to play when some one suspects that a child is being abused.
keykey3 ●●○ verb [transitive] 1 American English informal if you key a win for your team, you help it win a game because you play very well Abdul keyed the game with three touchdowns.2 British EnglishTIC to prepare a surface so that a covering such as paint will stick to it key something ↔ in key something to something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
keyRollins keyed a 98-89 victory for the Hawks.But it is also possible that they were keying into an actual human possibility.Breaking it, if it can be found, produces the effect of keying out the engram.
From King Business Dictionarykeykey1 /kiː/ noun [countable]COMPUTING1a part of a computer with a letter, number etc on it that you press with your fingers to make it workPress any key to continue. alt key arrow key control key escape key hot key scroll key shift key2a/the key to something the part of a plan, arrangement etc that is the most important and which everything else depends onThe key to customer satisfaction is quick access to those best placed to resolve issues quickly.If managers are free to concentrate on the core business, this could be a key to economicsuccess in the difficult times ahead.keykey2 adjective1very important or necessarythe impact of foreign investment onkey industriesThe key elements of Japanese management methods can be applied to Western organisations.A key factor in these companies’ success is knowing their customers’ preferences.key toTechnical alliances between companies are key to putting pressure on other cable competitors.2COMMERCE key actor/player/mover a person or company that is very important and influentialThe key players involved in the change must be identified and their commitment to the change obtained.Employers are key actors within industrial relations.keykey3 verb FINANCE be keyed to something if the level, price, value etc of something is keyed to something else, it is related to it and rises and falls with itIn many cases, brokers’ commissions are keyed to share prices.The agreement requires banks to hold a certain amount of capital, keyed to the riskiness of loans. key something → in→ See Verb tableOrigin key2 Old English cæg