Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[kee, key, kwey] /ki, keɪ, kweɪ/
a landing place, especially one of solid masonry, constructed along the edge of a body of water; wharf.
Origin of quay
1690-1700; spelling variant (after French quai) of earlier kay (also key, whence the modern pronunciation) < Old French kay, cay; akin to Spanish cayo shoal. See key2
Related forms
quaylike, adjective
Can be confused
cay, key, quay.
pier, dock, landing, levee.


[kwey] /kweɪ/
Matthew Stanley, 1833–1904, U.S. politician: senator 1887–99, 1901–4. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for quay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He's pledged to find you on the quay, and he will—unless some one makes him drunk.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • And then, as they followed the quay of the Gave, they all at once came upon the Grotto.

  • Although the quay was not yet finished, the work seemed to be quite abandoned.

  • He bought one at a shop near the quay, and was back to the steps in ten minutes.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • He was so interested in the crowd on the quay that he did not hear his father speaking to him.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • It was raining in torrents, and the quay was absolutely deserted.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • The quay in perspective to the left, the man who shoulders that sack below.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • Then, as he regained the quay, Juve laughed in his false white beard.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • Filling his pipe afresh, Juve resumed his walk along the quay.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
British Dictionary definitions for quay


a wharf, typically one built parallel to the shoreline Compare pier (sense 1)
Word Origin
C14 keye, from Old French kai, of Celtic origin; compare Cornish hedge, fence, Old Breton cai fence
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for quay

1690s, variant of Middle English key, keye, caye "wharf" (c.1300; mid-13c. in place names), from Old North French cai (Old French chai, 12c., Modern French quai) "sand bank," from Gaulish caium (5c.), from Old Celtic *kagio- "to encompass, enclose" (cf. Welsh cae "fence, hedge," Cornish ke "hedge"), from PIE *kagh- "to catch, seize; wickerwork, fence" (see hedge (n.)). Spelling altered in English by influence of French quai.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for quay

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for quay

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for quay