or key word



a word that serves as a key, as to the meaning of another word, a sentence, passage, or the like.
a word used to encipher or decipher a cryptogram, as a pattern for a transposition procedure or the basis for a complex substitution.
Also called catchword. Library Science. a significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of a document or other item being indexed, used as the index entry.
Digital Technology. a word used to classify or organize digital content, or to facilitate an online search for information: Search the database for the keyword “Ireland.”

Origin of keyword

First recorded in 1855–60; key1 + word Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for keyword

Contemporary Examples of keyword

  • Angwin notes that keyword searches are increasingly tracked.

  • When you send a tweet, Google a keyword, or stream a Netflix movie, you are harvesting what Shannon sowed.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Drowning in Beeps

    Nicholas Carr

    March 1, 2011

  • Their version of journalism is to focus on things like “keyword density” and search-engine optimization.

    The Daily Beast logo
    AOL's Tricky HuffPo Marriage

    Dan Lyons

    February 7, 2011

Historical Examples of keyword

British Dictionary definitions for keyword



a word used as a key to a code
any significant word or phrase, esp a word used to describe the contents of a document
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 keyword

also key-word, 1807, from key (n.1) + word (n.). Originally in reference to codes and ciphers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper