skeleton key


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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.
"Now," he said, "friend John, where are the skeleton keys? If so that we can open the door, we need not break house by the window, as before at Miss Lucy's."
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. I stood at the centre door with my eyes glancing at each of the others, ready for any emergency, though, indeed, my plans were somewhat vague as to what I should do if we were interrupted.
Local brewery and incubator, Skeleton Key Brewery, has recently joined the team as STOPPING TRAFFIC'S official beer sponsor and is kindly donating two of their signature brews to be served at the event.