key

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Key

(),
Ernst A.H., Swedish anatomist and physician, 1832-1901. See: foramen of Key-Retzius, sheath of Key and Retzius.

key

a character of special significance in an organism. Such characters are used in a system for determining the identity of an organism on the basis of the presence or absence of a succession of characters. Usually such keys are DICHOTOMOUS (2); that is to say, at each step there is a choice between two possibilities. Keys, however, may have more than two characters at each step and there is a gradual elimination of absent characters until identification is made.
References in classic literature ?
He had said nothing after throwing the stick, but she had seen him taking his keys again and laying his right hand on the money.
Boxtel at first entertained an idea of stealing the key, but it soon occurred to him, not only that it would be exceedingly difficult to abstract it from her pocket, but also that, when she perceived her loss, she would not leave her room until the lock was changed, and then Boxtel's first theft would be useless.
Before she slept that night Magdalen had cleaned the keys from all impurities, and had oiled the wards, to help them smoothly into the locks.
He stands the candle on the chimney-piece in the clerk's hall and taps his dry cheek with the key as he addresses these words of welcome to Mademoiselle Hortense.
He drops his two keys back into his pocket one by one, and buttons them up; he takes his dinner-bundle from the chair-back on which he hung it when he came in; he distributes the weight he carries, by tying the third key up in it, as though he were an Ostrich, and liked to dine off cold iron; and he gets out of the room, deigning no word of answer.
At last, Samuel came in, not with the keys, but with a morsel of paper for me.
He then threw my keys into my lap, saying, - 'There
When Fouquet had satisfied himself that Baisemeaux had reached the bottom of the staircase, he inserted the key in the first lock.
Musing on these things the girl put the key in the pocket of her dress and then slowly drew on her shoes and stockings, which the sun had fully dried.
I looked for the key, but it was not in the lock, and I could not find it anywhere.
Then he noticed that the key had been left in the lock.
The key that lay there on the table before him was the key to that very lock.