skeleton key


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skeleton key

n.
A key with a large portion of the bit filed away so that it can open different locks. Also called passkey.

skeleton key

n
(Tools) a key with the serrated edge filed down so that it can open numerous locks. Also called: passkey
[C19: so called because it has been reduced to its essential parts]

skel′eton key`


n.
a key with nearly the whole substance of the bit filed away so that it opens various simple locks.
[1800–10]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.skeleton key - a passkey with much of the bit filed away so that it can open different locks
master key, passe-partout, passkey, master - key that secures entrance everywhere
Translations
مِفتاح لِكُل الأقْفال
skupinový klíč
hovednøgle
álkulcs
aîal-/höfuîlykill
skupinový kľúč

skeleton key

npasse-partout m inv

skeleton

(ˈskelitn) noun
1. the bony framework of an animal or person. The archaeologists dug up the skeleton of a dinosaur.
2. any framework or outline. the steel skeleton of a building.
skeleton key
a key which can open many different locks.
References in classic literature ?
He withdrew his arm, a skeleton key was selected from the bunch, and then back went his arm to the shoulder.
I thought so," muttered Raffles, handing me the lantern, and pocketing a bunch of skeleton keys, after tampering for a few minutes with the lock.
Quietly he inserted a slim, skeleton key in the lock of the door.
And, with an eye upon the waiters, Raffles showed me a skeleton key, newly twisted and filed; but my share of the extra pint (I am afraid no fair share) had made me dense.
And there was no need for the skeleton key after all; the boy opened the outer door with one of his own, and switched on the lights before leaving us.
Seward tried one or two skeleton keys, his mechanical dexterity as a surgeon standing him in good stead.
The count soon heard the rattling of a bunch of skeleton keys, such as the locksmith brings when called to force a lock, and which thieves call nightingales, doubtless from the music of their nightly song when they grind against the bolt.
When arrested he had a bunch of skeleton keys in one pocket a heavy chisel in another, and a short crowbar in his hand: neither more nor less than a burglar.
Turning up the cuffs of his dress-coat--he had placed his overcoat on a chair--Holmes laid out two drills, a jemmy, and several skeleton keys.
While this comparatively narrow scope is not necessarily the skeleton key sought by baffled readers, it nonetheless provides crucial material for understanding Joyce's peculiar genius.
Picture a skeleton key, opening not merely every door in a house, but every door that could be added to the house as well.
My films include Raising Helen and The Skeleton Key.