Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary




Synonyms and Antonyms of key

  1. 1 coming before all others in importance <maintains that Sir Isaac Newton remains the key figure in physical science> Synonyms arch, big, capital, cardinal, central, chief, dominant, first, grand, great, greatest, highest, foremost, leading, main, master, number one (also No. 1), numero uno, overbearing, overmastering, overriding, paramount, predominant, preeminent, premier, primal, primary, principal, prior, sovereign (also sovran), supremeRelated Words distinguished, eminent, illustrious, noble, notable, noteworthy, outstanding, prestigious, signal, star, stellar, superior; high-level, senior, top; important, influential, major, mighty, momentous, significant; incomparable, matchless, unequaled (or unequalled), unparalleled, unsurpassed; celebrated, famed, famous, renownedNear Antonyms inconsequential, inconsiderable, insignificant, minor, negligible, slight, trifling, trivial, unimportant; collateral, inferior, secondary, subordinate, subsidiaryAntonyms last, least

  2. 2 of the greatest possible importance <first—and this is key—I wasn't even there that evening> Synonyms critical, crucial, pivotal, vitalRelated Words decisive, life-and-death (also life-or-death), weighty; basic, elementary, fundamental; essential, indispensable, necessary, requisite; pressing, urgentNear Antonyms inconsequential, insignificant, minor, trivial, unimportant



Synonyms and Antonyms of key

  1. 1 an explanatory list of the symbols on a map or chart <in order to know what those dotted lines represent, you'll need to look at the key> Synonyms legendRelated Words scale; caption; guide, table

  2. 2 something that allows someone to achieve a desired goal <a good education is the key to success> Synonyms gateway, passport, open sesame, secret, ticketRelated Words password; accomplishment, achievement, attainment, coup, success, triumph; approach, manner, means, method, style, system, technique, way; blueprint, design, ground plan, plan, program, scheme, strategy

  3. 3 the means or right of entering or participating in <he had found the key to her heart> Synonyms access, accession, admission, admittance, door, doorway, entrée (or entree), entry, gateway, ingress, entrance, passport, ticketRelated Words approval, authorization, certification, permission, qualification; open door, welcome matNear Antonyms discharge, dismissal, ejection, expulsion, ouster, rejection, removal



Synonyms and Antonyms of key

  1. to bring to a state free of conflicts, inconsistencies, or differences <her response was perfectly keyed to the situation> Synonyms accommodate, attune, conciliate, conform, coordinate, harmonize, reconcileRelated Words adapt, tune; blend, combine, connect, correlate, dovetail, fit, fuse, integrate, join, match, merge, orchestrate, pair, square, suit, synchronize, synthesize, unify, unite; align (also aline), arrange, array, balance, equalize, even, order, proportion, regularize, standardizeNear Antonyms confuse, disarray, disorder, disorganize, disrupt, disturb, skew, upset; alienate, estrangeAntonyms disharmonize

Learn More about key

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up key? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a dwelling place or home

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • bride-of-dracula-in-cat-form-surrounded-by-candles-and-somewhat-bewilderingly-orange-sacks-instead-of-surely-much-cheaper-and-easier-to-find-actual-pumpkins
  • Which is a synonym of phlegmatic?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.