[key, kee]


a small low island; key.

Nearby words

  1. caxias,
  2. caxias do sul,
  3. caxton,
  4. caxton, william,
  5. caxtonian,
  6. cayce,
  7. cayenne,
  8. cayenne pepper,
  9. cayes,
  10. cayey

Origin of cay

1700–10; < Spanish cayo; see key2

Can be confusedcay key quay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cay

British Dictionary definitions for cay



a small low island or bank composed of sand and coral fragments, esp in the Caribbean areaAlso called: key

Word Origin for cay

C18: from Spanish cayo, probably from Old French quai quay

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

Word Origin and History for cay



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for cay


[kē, kā]

A small, low island composed largely of coral or sand. Also called key
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.