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skeleton key

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noun
a key with nearly the whole substance of the bit filed away so that it may open various locks.
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Also called passkey.

Origin of skeleton key

First recorded in 1800–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use skeleton key in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for skeleton key

skeleton key

noun
a key with the serrated edge filed down so that it can open numerous locksAlso called: passkey

Word Origin for skeleton key

C19: so called because it has been reduced to its essential parts
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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