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turnkey

[turn-kee]
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noun, plural turn·keys.
  1. a person who has charge of the keys of a prison; jailer.
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adjective
  1. 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.
  2. fully equipped; ready to go into operation: a turnkey business.
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Origin of turnkey

First recorded in 1645–55; turn + key1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

guardwarden

Examples from the Web for turnkey

Historical Examples

  • Upon which door the turnkey knocked with the handle of his key.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • So, the turnkey thought about it all his life, and died intestate after all.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The turnkey gave it as the result of his experience that some of 'em was and some of 'em wasn't.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • But the turnkey thanked them, and said, 'No, on the whole it was enough to see other people's children there.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • As it approached, there was not a Collegian within doors, nor a turnkey absent.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for turnkey

turnkey

noun
  1. archaic a keeper of the keys, esp in a prison; warder or jailer
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adjective
  1. 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
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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

Word Origin and History for turnkey

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper