We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


noun \ˈkē, ˈkā, ˈkwā\

: a structure built on the land next to a river, lake, or ocean that is used as a place for boats to stop for loading and unloading freight and passengers

Full Definition of QUAY

:  a structure built parallel to the bank of a waterway for use as a landing place

Examples of QUAY

  1. <docked the ferry at the quay to let the passengers off>

Origin of QUAY

alteration of earlier key, from Middle English, from Middle French dialect (Picard) kay, probably of Celtic origin; akin to Breton kae hedge, enclosure; akin to Old English hecg hedge
First Known Use: circa 1635

Other Nautical Terms

avast, aweigh, flotsam, jib, keel, lee, port, starboard, stay
QUAY Defined for Kids


noun \ˈkē, ˈkwā\

Definition of QUAY for Kids

:  a structure built along the bank of a waterway (as a river) for use as a landing for loading and unloading boats


Next Word in the Dictionary: quayagePrevious Word in the Dictionary: quawk All Words Near: quay
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears