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[key, kee] /keɪ, ki/
a small low island; key.
Origin of cay
1700-10; < Spanish cayo; see key2
Can be confused
cay, key, quay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cay
Historical Examples
  • Well, Jack, I reckon we cayn't take Dinsmore in to be hanged.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • We cayn't let him go back there and take our medicine for us.

    A Texas Ranger William MacLeod Raine
  • We went over every inch of the cay and theres not a living soul on it.

  • To the end of the world, and over the edge—I cayn't help that.

    Curly Roger Pocock
  • I cayn't oppress Jim in them things—I'd get so tame and weak he'd sit on my haid!

    Curly Roger Pocock
  • Mebbe the women-folks will feel better fort; but you cay—nt do it.

    A Singular Life Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • "You can hear dozens of yarns like that about every coral island and cay in the Caribbean," I said.

    Pirates' Hope Francis Lynde
  • "We didn't," shouted a youngster named cay, firing up at once.

  • Scotty asked, "Where does the word 'cay' come from, anyway?"

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • cayn't you take 'em off what they're on, and saynd one of the boys in with 'em, Trypheeny?

    Two Knapsacks

    John Campbell
British Dictionary definitions for cay


/keɪ; kiː/
a small low island or bank composed of sand and coral fragments, esp in the Caribbean area Also called key
Word Origin
C18: from Spanish cayo, probably from Old French quaiquay
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cay

"low island," 1707, from Spanish cayo; see key (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cay in Science
  (kē, kā)   
A small, low island composed largely of coral or sand. Also called key.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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