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 child who is home alone after school or in general because their parents or guardians are at 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 child who is home alone after school or in general because their parents or guardians are at 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 tool used to remove caps from glass bottles and puncture lids on cans. The phrase can also be used simply as slang for a bottle opener. Be sure to bring a church key with you so we can open up the bottles! Here, use this church key to open that can of soup.
See also: church, key

hold the key

To contain or provide the missing element or necessary explanation for something. Scientists are scouring the rainforest for medicinal plants in the hope that one of them holds the key to curing cancer. This passage holds the key to understanding the entire novel.
See also: hold, key

low-key

1. Modest and restrained, often intentionally to avoid being conspicuous, loud, wild, etc. It's just going to be a little, low-key gathering with friends, no big deal. I'm trying to keep news of my promotion low-key, so as not to upset some of my co-workers.
2. Not exhibiting much energy or enthusiasm; mellow. You seem pretty low-key today. Everything OK?

keyed up

Excited, nervous, or anxious. I'm so keyed up after that concert that there's no way I'm going to be able to fall asleep. Ben gets a little keyed up before he goes on stage, but once he's out there, he's completely in control.
See also: key, up

under lock and key

Securely hidden away. I keep my grandmother's secret recipe under lock and key so that no one can steal it.
See also: and, key, lock

in a minor key

Having a subtle, understated presentation or demeanor. An allusion to the musical key, the phrase is typically used to describe abstract concepts and characteristics. The film, which elegantly examines the very real struggles of everyday people in the modern age, is human wisdom in the minor key.
See also: key, minor

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.

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

in (or out of) key

in (or out of) harmony.
See also: key

under lock and key

securely locked up.
See also: and, key, lock

in a minor key

(especially of a literary work) understated.
1995 Independent He was a moralist in a minor key.
See also: key, minor

under ˌlock and ˈkey

locked up in prison, in a safe, etc: The escaped prisoners are now safely under lock and key.The exam papers must be kept under lock and key until half an hour before the exam.
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 periodicals archive ?
So if journalists were going to once again buy into his well greased act, how could they in good conscience totally write off (as many would have liked to) Keyes and Bauer?
Arguably the most impassioned orator in either major party, Keyes makes Dole, Gramm and even Buchanan seem gray and lifeless by comparison.
With the castable-lined ladle, Madison-Kipp experienced about a 125-150 [degrees] F (52-66 [degrees] C) heat loss, Keyes noted.
The retrofit and restart of the Keyes plant was accomplished by a talented, dedicated management and operations team that has been expanded to more than 50 members," said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of AE Biofuels, Inc.
Meijer noted at the time that Keyes was the 11th president of the company.
These are all big names that do their own thing and can cover their own shows and host their own bills,'' Keyes continued.
Keyes lapped up Dundee's victory over Morton and said: "I just came to see the game.
They were aware he robbed a bank in Texas, but Keyes intimated that he was up to more criminal activity in the Lone Star State than authorities originally believed.
The next day Churchill sent this woman a corsage with the message: 'Pin this on your white meat,'" Keyes said.
In a previous agreement, Kinergy had signed an exclusive ethanol marketing arrangement with AE Keyes to sell all the ethanol produced by its 55m gallon per year ethanol production facility located in Keyes, California.
Mr Keyes joins DTZ from GVA Grimley where he was a director in the occupier consultancy business unit.
While the company has been closing more stores of late, the layout and operation of the 7,800 worldwide Blockbusters "hasn't changed much since 1985," Keyes acknowledges.
On many occasions, after causing damage, Warren sent text messages to his victim, Michael Keyes, gloating and threatening to carry out more attacks.
Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija running down the sideline, then sidestepping UCLA free safety Dennis Keyes at the 15-yard line before strolling into the end zone for the winning score with 27 seconds remaining.
Keyes had called homosexuality "selfish hedonism," after which Signorile asked him whether Cheney is a "selfish hedonist.