key

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in key

In consonance or accordance with other elements, factors, or styles. A reference to musical tonality. Jonathan's fashion sense is impeccable, with each facet of his ensemble in key with the others.
See also: key

out of key

Not in consonance or accordance with other elements, factors, or styles. A reference to musical tonality. That shirt looks ridiculous—it's totally out of key with the rest of your wardrobe!
See also: key, of, out

the keys to the kingdom

A resource that will give the possessor access to the most complete or profound knowledge or power possible in a given area or pursuit. A reference to Matthew 16:19, when Jesus said to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Whatever you do, don't lose this external hard drive with all of our accounts and passwords. Anyone who has it will have the keys to the kingdom! Whichever candidate reaches the most citizens at a fundamental, grassroots level will have the keys to the kingdom securely in hand.
See also: key, kingdom

latchkey child

A school-age child who is unsupervised after school or in general, due to his or her parents being away for work. I know it makes me sound horrible, but I just don't want Tommy hanging out with those latchkey children from down the road. Being a latchkey child was tough at times, but it taught me the value of self-reliance at an earlier age than most.
See also: child, latchkey

latchkey kid

A school-age child who is unsupervised after school or in general due to his or her parents being away for work. I know it makes me sound horrible, but I just don't want Tommy hanging out with those latchkey kids from down the road. Being a latchkey kid was tough at times, but it taught me the value of self-reliance at an earlier age than most.
See also: kid, latchkey

lock (someone) up and throw away the key

To incarcerate someone in prison forever or indefinitely. That crazy drunk driver nearly hit me! I hope they lock him up and throw away the key!
See also: and, away, key, lock, throw, up

a golden key can open any door

Anything can be accomplished with enough money. Although the fancy hotel had been booked solid for months, Lori was able to reserve a room quite easily. A golden key can open any door.
See also: any, can, door, golden, key, open

church key

a two-ended device used to remove bottle tops and to pierce a hole in can lids. I'm looking for the church key so I can open this beer. She opened the can of tomato juice with the church key.
See also: church, key

A golden key can open any door.

Prov. Sufficient money can accomplish anything. Jill: I'm amazed that Sally got into a good university; her grades were so poor. Jane: Well, she comes from a wealthy family, and a golden key can open any door. Jane: How did Fred manage to get invited to the party at the country club? It's so exclusive there. Alan: Yes, but a golden key can open any door.
See also: any, can, door, golden, key, open

key someone up

to cause someone to be anxious or excited. The excitement of the moment really keyed me up. Thoughts of their vacation keyed up the children so much they couldn't sleep.
See also: key, up

key to success

Fig. the secret to someone's success. Bob said that the key to his success is working hard, being on time, and being extremely lucky.
See also: key, success

*keyed up (about something)

 and *keyed up (over something)
to be excited or anxious. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) Why are you so keyed up about nothing? She is keyed up over her son's health.
See also: key, up

modulate to a (different) key

to change from one musical key to another by means of a musical transition. Suddenly, the organist modulated to a key that was too high for most of the singers. I will have to modulate to a lower key before I start the next hymn.
See also: key, modulate

off-key

[of music or singing] off pitch; out of tune. She always sings off-key and makes the rest of the choir sound like baying hounds.

keyed up

nervous or excited The interview went well today but now I'm too keyed up to sleep.
See also: key, up

under lock and key

in a safe, protected place The old man keeps such documents under lock and key.
See also: and, key, lock

hold the key

to provide the explanation for something that you could not previously understand Fiennes, who had been looking for the place for twenty years, became convinced that this road held the key.
See also: hold, key

under lock and key

 
1. kept safely in a room or container that is locked I tend to keep medicines under lock and key because of the kids.
2. in prison I think the feeling from the general public is that people like that should be kept under lock and key for the rest of their lives.
See also: and, key, lock

low-key

not intended to attract a lot of attention She had requested that the funeral be a low-key affair. The reception itself was surprisingly low-key.

in key

In harmony with other factors, in a matching style, as in This furniture is perfectly in key with the overall design. This term uses key in the musical sense, that is, "a scheme of notes related to one another." The antonym, out of key, means "not in harmony with other factors," or "unsuitable," as in He is out of key with his time. [c. 1900]
See also: key

key up

Make intense, excited, or nervous. For example, The excitement of the gallery opening has really keyed her up. This usage alludes to key in the sense of "wind up a spring-driven mechanism such as a clock." [Late 1800s]
See also: key, up

out of key

see under in key.
See also: key, of, out

under lock and key

Securely locked up, as in He keeps the wine under lock and key. [First half of 1500s]
See also: and, key, lock

key in

v.
1. To enter something as data into a computer system or program using a keyboard; input something: I keyed the statistics in and analyzed the patterns. The researcher keyed in the results of the experiment and printed out a copy.
2. To become aware of or responsive to someone or something: If they are going to be good leaders, they need to key in to the needs of the voters. We stated our complaints very clearly, but the manager hasn't keyed in.
3. To cause someone to become aware of or responsive to someone or something: We don't know the strategy yet, but you can key us in. The manager keyed in the employees to the new dress code.
See also: key

key to

v.
To make something correspond to something else: I wrote up a teaching guide and keyed it to the materials for each lesson. The worksheets were keyed to the requirements for each course.
See also: key

key up

v.
To cause someone to be intense, excited, or nervous: The coffee has really keyed me up. Thinking about the party tonight has keyed up the kids. The audience was all keyed up, waiting to find out who won the award.
See also: key, up

church key

n. a beer can opener designed to puncture a can, leaving a triangular hole; a bottle opener. (Older. No longer widely known, but still in use. One type of bottle opener is formed from metal following the outline of a large keyhole. This may have contributed to the origin of this term.) Where is the church key when I need it?
See also: church, key

K

(ke)
1. and kee and key and ki (ki) n. a kilogram of cannabis. (Drugs.) Well, how much is a ki?
2. n. ketamine hydrochloride, a drug similar to LSD. (Drugs.) You want to try this K. stuff?
3. n. a thousand (of anything, such as dollars, bytes, etc.). This car is worth at least twenty K.

key

verb
See K

key figure

n. an important person in an event; a person central to an event. Sam is not exactly a key figure, but he can lead us to Mr. Big.
See also: figure, key

key grip

n. the head laborer on a movie set. (Filmmaking.) The key grip has a complaint that could hold up production.
See also: grip, key

keyed (up)

1. mod. nervous; anxious. Sally was a little keyed up before the meet.
2. and keyed up to the roof mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. He was a mite keyed, but still technically sober. Tipsy, hell! I’d say keyed up to the roof!
See also: key, up

keyed

verb
See also: key

keyed up to the roof

verb
See also: key, roof, up

low-key

mod. not obvious; not hyped. Let’s try to keep this low-key so as not to upset the family.

in key

In consonance with other factors.
See also: key

out of key

Not in consonance with other factors.
See also: key, of, out

under lock and key

Securely locked up.
See also: and, key, lock
References in classic literature ?
Then a wild desire took me to obtain the key at any risk,and I determined then and there to scale the wall again, and gain the Count's room.
But the man in the dark could not find the right key.
Now, mistress," says the lawyer, tapping the key hastily upon the chimney-piece.
In a very little while there was no longer any doubt that Peter Featherstone was dead, with his right hand clasping the keys, and his left hand lying on the heap of notes and gold.
Musing on these things the girl put the key in the pocket of her dress and then slowly drew on her shoes and stockings, which the sun had fully dried.
He then threw my keys into my lap, saying, - 'There
One, a coffee-cup that has been ground into powder; two, a despatch-case with a key in the lock; three, a stain on the floor.
As he had himself forgotten to call for the key at the farm, no one replied.
If that key never left Mademoiselle Stangerson, the murderer must have waited for her in her room for the purpose of stealing it; and the robbery could not have been committed until after the attack had been made on her.
said Hester, the little kitchen-maid late on her promotion--"and to Madame Crawley, so good and kind, and his Rev'rince (with a curtsey), and you may search all MY boxes, Mum, I'm sure, and here's my keys as I'm an honest girl, though of pore parents and workhouse bred--and if you find so much as a beggarly bit of lace or a silk stocking out of all the gownds as YOU'VE had the picking of, may I never go to church agin.
Or whether Stony stood for Stephen;' clinking with a change of keys.
If I send you down Miss Verinder's keys," she said to him, "I presume I shall have done all you want of me for the present?
You've a memory for my pills and draughts, wonderful,--I'll allays say that of you,--but you're lost among the keys.
He pulled out the keys at once, they were all, as before, in one bunch on a steel ring.
putting her hand in her side-pocket, here's a key that'll fit, I guess; let's see.