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Key may refer to:

Common meanings[edit]

  • Key (lock), device used to open a lock such as in a door
  • Key, a guide to colours and symbols used in a data chart, graph, plot or diagram
  • Key (cryptography), a piece of information that controls the operation of a cryptography algorithm
  • Key (engineering), a type of coupling used to transmit rotation between a shaft and an attached item
  • Cay, also spelled key, a small, low-elevation, sandy island formed on the surface of a coral reef
  • Key (map), a guide to a map's symbology


  • Identification key, a method of deducing the correct species assignment of a living thing
  • Single-access key, a method used for categorizing species using logical choices
  • Samara (fruit) or key, a type of fruit in which a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue develops from the ovary wall, often called "helicopters"

Companies and organizations[edit]

  • Key (company), a Japanese visual novel studio
  • KeyBank, a bank headquartered in the Key Tower in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Key Club, a worldwide student service organization
  • House of Keys, the directly elected lower branch of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man



  • Key English Test, an international examination of basic level of English language.





Visual Arts[edit]

  • Key color (typically black), in the CMYK color model
  • Key plate, a plate which prints the detail in an image, often using the color black
  • Chroma key, a method to superimpose several video layers using areas of a defined color as a mask
  • Key frame, a frame made by an animator from which other frames are derived
  • Key light, the primary light source that illuminates an image or scene
  • The primary tone of an image, as in high key or low key images


See also[edit]