To scratch the paint job on a car with a set of keys.

One holds the heads of the keys between fingers-- pointy toothed bits out, fob and lucky charms in the palm of your hand-- and swipe at the surface of the car like you are the comic book character Wolverine. Holding your keys like this is also a good way of self-defence when pacing through an urban jungle.

Keying a car is viewed as either an act of vandalism or retribution.

Traditionally refers to the collection of shaped metal objects which can, when inserted into an appropriate lock and manipulated in n dimensions (because sometimes the locks have to be jiggled with the key, that's why), disengage the locking mechanism.

As Gary Larson has postulated, there are gnomes who steal or move your keys whenever you leave them in an unguarded location. The best defense against these duplicitious fiends is to wear your keys clipped to your belt, beltloop, or nose*.

I advocate the use of non-load-bearing carabiners from any trendy sporting goods store. They come in attractive colors and patterns, feature a range of shapes and closures, and are inexpensive enough to allow for several fashion arrangements.

* Note: Individuals wishing to attempt nasal installation of keys should first consult an accredited plastic surgeon.

In basketball, the key is the lane area plus the half-circle above the free throw line. It's kinda shaped like a key hole.

Guarding this position is a big part of why zone defense is so much better than man-to-man.

All you ever didn't need to know about a door key:

-Parts of a key-

The head: This is relatively obvious, the handle-end of the key which you turn when the key is put into the lock.

The shaft: The elongated part of the key that meets with the pins inside of the lock and disappears when you insert the key into a lock cylinder.

The bow: This is more specifically the curvature of the wide section of the head of a key.

The nape: The part of the key between the head and the shaft that joins with the teeth.

The groove: The indented line(s) of the shaft that goes for the length of the teeth.

The teeth: The indentations on the keyshaft that meet with the pins inside of the lock after insertion of a key into a lock.

Key (kE), n. [OE. keye, key, kay, AS. cæg.]


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.


An instrument which is turned like a key in fastening or adjusting any mechanism; as, a watch key; a bed key, etc.


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.


A position or condition which affords entrance, control, pr possession, etc.; as, the key of a line of defense; the key of a country; the key of a political situation. Hence, that which serves to unlock, open, discover, or solve something unknown or difficult; as, the key to a riddle; the key to a problem.

Those who are accustomed to reason have got the true key of books.

Who keeps the keys of all the creeds.


That part of a mechanism which serves to lock up, make fast, or adjust to position.

6. (Arch.)


A piece of wood used as a wedge.


The last board of a floor when laid down.

7. (Masonry)


A keystone.


That part of the plastering which is forced through between the laths and holds the rest in place.

8. (Mach.)


A wedge to unite two or more pieces, or adjust their relative position; a cotter; a forelock. See Illusts. of Cotter, and Gib.


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.

9. (Bot.)

An indehiscent, one-seeded fruit furnished with a wing, as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara; -- called also key fruit.

10. (Mus.)


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.


The fundamental tone of a movement to which its modulations are referred, and with which it generally begins and ends; keynote.

Both warbling of one song, both in one key.


Fig: The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.

You fall at once into a lower key.

Key bed. Same as Key seat. --
Key bolt, a bolt which has a mortise near the end, and is secured by a cotter or wedge instead of a nut. Key bugle. See Kent bugle. --
Key of a position or country. (Mil.) See Key, 4. --
Key seat (Mach.), a bed or groove to receive a key which prevents one part from turning on the other. --
Key way, a channel for a key, in the hole of a piece which is keyed to a shaft; an internal key seat; -- called also key seat. --
Key wrench (Mach.), an adjustable wrench in which the movable jaw is made fast by a key. --
Power of the keys (Eccl.), the authority claimed by the ministry in some Christian churches to administer the discipline of the church, and to grant or withhold its privileges; -- so called from the declaration of Christ, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Matt. xvi. 19.


© Webster 1913

Key (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Keved (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Keying.]

To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges. Francis.

To key up.
(a) (Arch.) To raise (the whole ring of an arch) off its centering, by driving in the keystone forcibly.
(b) (Mus.) To raise the pitch of.
(c) Hence, fig., to produce nervous tension in.


© Webster 1913

Key, n. (Teleg.)

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.


© Webster 1913

Key, n.

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.


© Webster 1913

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