1. excessively garish or sentimental art; usually considered in bad taste

    Type Of : art, fine art


  1. a coral reef off the southern coast of Florida

    Synonyms : cay, florida key
    Type Of : coral reef
  2. identify as in botany or biology, for example

    Synonyms : describe, discover, distinguish, identify, key out, name
  3. (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

    Synonyms : paint
    Type Of : space
    Examples :
    • he hit a jump shot from the top of the key
  4. any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music

    Synonyms : tonality
    Type Of : musical notation
  5. United States lawyer and poet who wrote a poem after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812; the poem was later set to music and entitled `The Star-Spangled Banner' (1779-1843)

    Synonyms : francis scott key
  6. mechanical device used to wind another device that is driven by a spring (as a clock)

    Synonyms : winder
    Type Of : mechanical device
  7. the central building block at the top of an arch or vault

    Synonyms : headstone, keystone
    Type Of : building block
  8. serving as an essential component

    Synonyms : cardinal, central, fundamental, primal
  9. a winged often one-seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple

    Synonyms : key fruit, samara
    Type Of : achene
  10. a generic term for any device whose possession entitles the holder to a means of access

    Type Of : positive identification
    Examples :
    • a safe-deposit box usually requires two keys to open it
  11. a kilogram of a narcotic drug

    Type Of : kilogram, kg, kilo
    Examples :
    • they were carrying two keys of heroin
  12. a lever (as in a keyboard) that actuates a mechanism when depressed

    Type Of : lever
  13. a list of answers to a test

    Type Of : list, listing
    Examples :
    • some students had stolen the key to the final exam
  14. a list of words or phrases that explain symbols or abbreviations

    Type Of : listing, list
  15. harmonize with or adjust to

    Type Of : harmonize, harmonise, reconcile
    Examples :
    • key one's actions to the voters' prevailing attitude
  16. metal device shaped in such a way that when it is inserted into the appropriate lock the lock's mechanism can be rotated

    Type Of : device
  17. pitch of the voice

    Type Of : pitch
    Examples :
    • he spoke in a low key
  18. provide with a key

    Type Of : render, supply, furnish, provide
    Examples :
    • We were keyed after the locks were changed in the building
  19. regulate the musical pitch of

    Type Of : harmonize, harmonise, chord
  20. something crucial for explaining

    Type Of : explanation
    Examples :
    • the key to development is economic integration
  21. vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key

    Type Of : vandalise, vandalize
    Examples :
    • His new Mercedes was keyed last night in the parking lot


  1. something of sentimental value

    Synonyms : relic, souvenir, token
    Type Of : object, physical object


  1. the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning

    Synonyms : cognition, noesis
    Type Of : psychological feature


  1. bend the knees and bow in a servile manner

    Synonyms : genuflect, scrape
    Type Of : bow
  2. a former Chinese custom of touching the ground with the forehead as a sign of respect or submission

    Synonyms : kotow
    Type Of : bow, obeisance, bowing
  3. try to gain favor by cringing or flattering

    Synonyms : bootlick, fawn, kotow, suck up, toady, truckle
    Type Of : flatter, blandish
    Examples :
    • He is always kowtowing to his boss


  1. making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe

    Synonyms : baffling, elusive, problematic, problematical, tough
    Examples :
    • I faced the knotty problem of what to have for breakfast
  2. highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious

    Synonyms : byzantine, convoluted, involved, tangled, tortuous
    Examples :
    • a knotty problem
  3. tangled in knots or snarls

    Synonyms : snarled, snarly
  4. used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or knots

    Synonyms : gnarled, gnarly, knobbed, knotted


  1. call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)

    Synonyms : arouse, elicit, enkindle, evoke, fire, provoke, raise
    Type Of : create, make
  2. cause to start burning

    Synonyms : conflagrate, enkindle, inflame
    Type Of : ignite, light
    Examples :
    • The setting sun kindled the sky with oranges and reds
  3. catch fire

    Synonyms : inflame
    Type Of : flare up
    Examples :
    • The dried grass of the prairie kindled, spreading the flames for miles


  1. express grief verbally

    Synonyms : lament
    Type Of : express feelings, express emotion
  2. intense or sharp

    Synonyms : exquisite
  3. painful as if caused by a sharp instrument

    Synonyms : cutting, knifelike, lancinate, lancinating, piercing, stabbing
    Examples :
    • keen winds
  4. having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

    Synonyms : acute, discriminating, incisive, knifelike, penetrating, penetrative, piercing, sharp
  5. very good

    Synonyms : bang-up, bully, corking, cracking, dandy, great, groovy, neat, nifty, not bad, old, peachy, slap-up, smashing, swell
  6. a funeral lament sung with loud wailing

    Type Of : lament, threnody, requiem, coronach, dirge
  7. having a sharp cutting edge or point

    Examples :
    • a keen blade