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[turn-kee] /ˈtɜrnˌki/
noun, plural turnkeys.
a person who has charge of the keys of a prison; jailer.
Also, turn-key. of, relating to, or resulting from an arrangement under which a private contractor designs and constructs a project, building, etc., for sale when completely ready for occupancy or operation:
turn-key housing, turnkey contract.
fully equipped; ready to go into operation:
a turnkey business.
Origin of turnkey
1645-55; turn + key1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for turn-key
Historical Examples
  • And he continued his train of thought aloud, without giving a thought to the turn-key's presence.

British Dictionary definitions for turn-key


(archaic) a keeper of the keys, esp in a prison; warder or jailer
denoting a project, as in civil engineering, in which a single contractor has responsibility for the complete job from the start to the time of installation or occupancy
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 turn-key



1650s, "jailer," from turn (v.) + key (n.). In reference to a job that only has to be done once, it is recorded from 1934. The notion is of locking up afterward.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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turn-key in Technology

jargon, application
A term which describes a complete system (hardware and software) which can be used for a specific application without requiring further programming or software installation. The user can just "turn the key" (switch it on) and use it.
Compare end-to-end solution.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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