• synonyms

key money

  1. advance rent or security required of a new tenant and given in exchange for the key to the house or apartment.
  2. an amount of money paid, often secretly, to a landlord, superintendent, or current tenant by a person desiring future tenancy.
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Origin of key money

First recorded in 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for key money

Historical Examples

  • This form of currency is developed from what is generally termed "key-money" or "knife-money."

    The Harmsworth Magazine, Vol. 1, 1898-1899, No. 6


British Dictionary definitions for key money

key money

  1. a fee payment required from a new tenant of a house or flat before he moves in
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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