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Definition of key:

  1. A bar or key, in a typewriter or typesetting machine, used for spacing between letters.
  2. A bar, pin or wedge, to secure a crank, pulley, coupling, etc., upon a shaft, and prevent relative turning; sometimes holding by friction alone, but more frequently by its resistance to shearing, being usually embedded partly in the shaft and partly in the crank, pulley, etc.
  3. A family of tones whose regular members are called diatonic tones, and named key tone ( or tonic) or one ( or eight), mediant or three, dominant or five, subdominant or four, submediant or six, supertonic or two, and subtonic or seven. Chromatic tones are temporary members of a key, under such names as " sharp four," " flat seven," etc. Scales and tunes of every variety are made from the tones of a key.
  4. A keystone.
  5. A metallic lever by which the circuit of the sending or transmitting part of a station equipment may be easily and rapidly opened and closed; any device for closing or opening an electric circuit.
  6. A piece of wood used as a wedge.
  7. A simplified version or analysis which accompanies something as a clue to its explanation, a book or table containing the solutions to problems, ciphers, allegories, or the like, or a table or synopsis of conspicuous distinguishing characters of members of a taxonomic group.
  8. A wedge to unite two or more pieces, or adjust their relative position; a cotter; a forelock.
  9. An indehiscent, one- seeded fruit furnished with a wing, as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara; - called also key fruit.
  10. 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.
  11. An instrument which is turned like a key in fastening or adjusting any mechanism; as, a watch key; a bed key, etc.
  12. Fig: The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.
  13. That part of a mechanism which serves to lock up, make fast, or adjust to position.
  14. That part of an instrument or machine which serves as the means of operating it; as, a telegraph key; the keys of a pianoforte, or of a typewriter.
  15. That part of the plastering which is forced through between the laths and holds the rest in place.
  16. The fundamental tone of a movement to which its modulations are referred, and with which it generally begins and ends; keynote.
  17. The last board of a floor when laid down.
  18. To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges.

Synonyms:

linchpin, cardinal, underlying, separate, delineate, primaeval, come upon, capital, backbone, divulge, mark, break, chance upon, operative, observe, pick up, aboriginal, pigment, paint, francis scott key, cite, lynchpin, line, kilo, chance on, tell, secernate, find out, notice, see, means, attain, come across, severalize, formula, signalise, primary, hear, fundamental, light upon, differentiate, bring up, secret, primal, strike, anchor, principal, signalize, foremost, tell apart, happen upon, of import, discover, get word, chief, key out, pivotal, blusher, let on, list, get a line, important, reveal, mainstay, rouge, kilogram, place, refer, report, central, keystone, name, find, leading, describe, rudimentary, get wind, cay, primordial, main, gravestone, make, constitute, account, nominate, call, diagnose, identify, tombstone, appoint, give away, first, number one, draw, bring out, principal, recognise, fall upon, winder, kg, chief, distinguish, pick out, route, let out, mention, prime, unwrap, recognize, spot, pivotal, top, premier, primeval, expose, advert, major, significant, secern, trace, disclose, Florida Keys, headstone, tonality, make out, detect, profound, key fruit, samara, learn, depict, paramount, severalise, discern.

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