Wedge vs Key - What's the difference?

wedge | key |

As nouns the difference between wedge and key

is that wedge is one of the simple machines; a piece of material, such as metal or wood, thick at one edge and tapered to a thin edge at the other for insertion in a narrow crevice, used for splitting, tightening, securing, or levering () or wedge can be (uk|cambridge university|slang) the person whose name stands lowest on the list of the classical tripos while key is an object designed to open and close a lock or key can be one of a string of small islands or key can be .

As verbs the difference between wedge and key

is that wedge is to support or secure using a wedge while key is to fit (a lock) with a key.

As an adjective key is

indispensable, supremely important.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



Etymology 1



(en noun)
  • One of the simple machines; a piece of material, such as metal or wood, thick at one edge and tapered to a thin edge at the other for insertion in a narrow crevice, used for splitting, tightening, securing, or levering ().
  • Stick a wedge under the door, will you? It keeps blowing shut.
  • A piece (of food etc.) having this shape.
  • Can you cut me a wedge of cheese?
  • (geometry) A five-sided polyhedron with a rectangular base, two rectangular or trapezoidal sides meeting in an edge, and two triangular ends.
  • (figurative) Something that creates a division, gap or distance between things.
  • * 2013 September 28, , " London Is Special, but Not That Special," New York Times (retrieved 28 September 2013):
  • It is one of the ironies of capital cities that each acts as a symbol of its nation, and yet few are even remotely representative of it. London has always set itself apart from the rest of Britain — but political, economic and social trends are conspiring to drive that wedge deeper.
  • (archaic) A flank of cavalry acting to split some portion of an opposing army, charging in an inverted V formation.
  • (golf) A type of iron club used for short, high trajectories.
  • A group of geese or swans when they are in flight in a V formation.
  • (in the plural) Wedge-heeled shoes.
  • (colloquial, British) A quantity of money.
  • I made a big fat wedge from that job.
  • (typography, US) =
  • * 1982 , Thomas Pyles and John Algeo, The Origins and Development of the English Language (3rd ed.), page 49
  • The wedge is used in Czech and is illustrated by the Czech name for the diacritic, ha?ek .
  • * 1996 , and William A. Ladusaw, Phonetic Symbol Guide (2nd ed.), page xxvi
  • The tilde and the circumflex have a place in the ASCII scheme but the wedge and the umlaut do not.
  • * 1999 , Florian Coulmas, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems , page 193, “há?ek”
  • The há?ek or ‘wedge'’ is a diacritic commonly used in Slavic orthographies. As a tone mark the ' wedge is used iconically for a falling-rising tone as in Chinese Pinyin.
  • (phonetics) The (l) character , which denotes an .
  • * 1996 , and William A. Ladusaw, Phonetic Symbol Guide (2nd ed.), page 19
  • Turned V is referred to as “Wedge ” by some phoneticians, but this seems inadvisable to us, because the ha?ek accent (?) is also called that in names like Wedge C for (?).
  • (label) The symbol , denoting a meet (infimum) operation or logical conjunction.
  • Synonyms
    * (group of geese) skein * (l)


  • To support or secure using a wedge.
  • I wedged open the window with a screwdriver.
  • * 1922 , (Virginia Woolf), (w, Jacob's Room) Chapter 1
  • "Did he take his bottle well?" Mrs. Flanders whispered, and Rebecca nodded and went to the cot and turned down the quilt, and Mrs. Flanders bent over and looked anxiously at the baby, asleep, but frowning. The window shook, and Rebecca stole like a cat and wedged it.
  • To force into a narrow gap.
  • He had wedged the package between the wall and the back of the sofa.
  • To work wet clay by cutting or kneading for the purpose of homogenizing the mass and expelling air bubbles.
  • Derived terms

    * wedge issue * wedge politics * wedgie

    Etymology 2

    From Wedgewood, surname of the person who occupied this position on the first list of 1828.


    (en noun)
  • (UK, Cambridge University, slang) The person whose name stands lowest on the list of the classical tripos.
  • * 1873 , Charles Astor Bristed, Five Years in an English University
  • The last man is called the Wedge , corresponding to the Spoon in Mathematics.
    * wooden wedge
    See also
    * wooden spoon



    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) keye, kaye, . For the semantic development, note that medieval keys were simply long poles (ending in a hook) with which a crossbar obstructing a door from the inside could be removed from the outside, by lifting it through a hole in the door.


    (en noun)
  • An object designed to open and close a lock.
  • * , chapter=13
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients , passage=We tiptoed into the house, up the stairs and along the hall into the room where the Professor had been spending so much of his time. 'Twas locked, of course, but the Deacon man got a big bunch of keys out of his pocket and commenced to putter with the lock.}}
  • An object designed to fit between two other objects (such as a shaft and a wheel) in a mechanism and maintain their relative orientation.
  • A crucial step or requirement.
  • * (John Locke) (1632-1705)
  • Those who are accustomed to reason have got the true key of books.
  • * (1809-1892)
  • who keeps the keys of all the creeds
  • A guide explaining the symbols or terminology of a map or chart; a legend.
  • A guide to the correct answers of a worksheet or test.
  • (label) One of several small, usually square buttons on a typewriter or computer keyboard, mostly corresponding to text characters.
  • (label) One of a number of rectangular moving parts on a piano or musical keyboard, each causing a particular sound or note to be produced.
  • (label) One of various levers on a musical instrument used to select notes, such as a lever opening a hole on a woodwind.
  • (label) A hierarchical scale of musical notes on which a composition is based.
  • * 1881 , R.L. Stevenson, :
  • A girl, it is true, has always lived in a glass house among reproving relatives, whose word was law; she has been bred up to sacrifice her judgments and take the key submissively from dear papa; and it is wonderful how swiftly she can change her tune into the husband's.
  • (label) The general pitch or tone of a sentence or utterance.
  • * (William Cowper) (1731-1800)
  • You fall at once into a lower key .
  • (label) An indehiscent, one-seeded fruit furnished with a wing, such as the fruit of the ash and maple; a samara.
  • (label) A manual electrical switching device primarily used for the transmission of Morse code.
  • (label) A piece of information (e.g. a passphrase) used to encode or decode a message or messages.
  • (label) A password restricting access to an IRC channel.
  • * 2000 , "Robert Erdec", Re: Help; mIRC32; unable to resolve server'' (on newsgroup ''alt.irc.mirc )
  • if you know someone who is in the channel, you can query them and ask for the key .
  • (label) In a relational database, a field used as an index into another table (not necessarily unique).
  • (label) A value that uniquely identifies an entry in an associative array.
  • (label) The free-throw lane together with the circle surrounding the free-throw line, the free-throw lane having formerly been narrower, giving the area the shape of a skeleton key hole.
  • (label) A series of logically organized groups of discriminating information which aims to allow the user to correctly identify a taxon.
  • (label) Kilogram (though this is more commonly shortened to kay ).
  • * 2010 , David J. Silas, Da Block (page 41)
  • So starting with ten keys' of cocaine and two ' keys of heroin, Derrick put his plan in motion. Soon every major drug dealer and gang chief from Chicago Avenue to Evanston was in his pocket.
  • (label) A piece of wood used as a wedge.
  • (label) The last board of a floor when laid down.
  • (label) A keystone.
  • That part of the plastering which is forced through between the laths and holds the rest in place.
  • (rail transport) A wooden support for a rail on the bullhead rail system.
  • (label) The object used to open or close a lock, often used as a heraldic charge.
  • Derived terms
    (Derived terms) * candidate key * card key * church key * foreign key * keyboard * keycard * key card * keychain, key chain * key fob, keyfob * keyhole * keynote * keypad * keyring, key ring * key signature * keystone * keystroke * keyword * major key * minor key * Morse key * primary key * public-key cryptography * skeleton key * unique key
    See also
    * clef * scale * (wikipedia "key") *


    (en adjective)
  • Indispensable, supremely important.
  • He is the key player on his soccer team.
  • * 2007 , Mark H. Moss, Shopping as an Entertainment Experience (page 46)
  • Lukas intimates that one of Disney's key attractions was "Main Street USA,” which "mimicked a downtown business district just as Southdale" had done.
  • Important, salient.
  • She makes several key points.
  • * {{quote-book, year=2006, author=
  • , title=Internal Combustion , chapter=2 citation , passage=Throughout the 1500s, the populace roiled over a constellation of grievances of which the forest emerged as a key focal point. The popular late Middle Ages fictional character Robin Hood, dressed in green to symbolize the forest, dodged fines for forest offenses and stole from the rich to give to the poor. But his appeal was painfully real and embodied the struggle over wood.}}
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=September 29 , author=Jon Smith , title=Tottenham 3 - 1 Shamrock Rovers , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=With the north London derby to come at the weekend, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp opted to rest many of his key players, although he brought back Aaron Lennon after a month out through injury.}}
    Usage notes
    The first meaning is distinguished by the definite article, as seen in the quotations.


    (en verb)
  • To fit (a lock) with a key.
  • To fit (pieces of a mechanical assembly) with a key to maintain the orientation between them.
  • To mark or indicate with a symbol indicating membership in a class.
  • * 1996 January, Garden Dsign Ideas , second printing, (Taunton Press), ISBN 1561580791, page 25,
  • So I worked on a tissue-paper copy of the perimeter plan, outlining groupings of plants of the same species and keying them with letters for the species.
  • * 2001 , Bruce M. Metzger, The Bible in Translation , ISBN 0801022827, page 87,
  • The volume closes with thirty pages of "Notes, critical and explanatory," in which Thomson provides seventy-six longer or shorter notes keyed to specific sections of the synopsis.
  • * 2002 , Karen Bromley, Stretching Students' Vocabulary , ISBN 0439288398, page 12,
  • Talk about similarities between the words and write them below to the left of the anchor, keying' them with a plus sign (+). Talk about the characteristics that set the words apart and list them below the box to the right, ' keying them with a tilde sign (~).
  • * 2007 , Stephen Blake Mettee, Michelle Doland and Doris Hall, compilers, The American Directory of Writer's Guidelines , 6th ("2007–2008") edition, ISBN 1884956580, page 757,
  • Indicate the comparative value of each heading by keying it with a number in pencil, in the left margin, as follows:
  • (telegraphy and radio telegraphy) To depress (a telegraph key).
  • (radio) To operate (the transmitter switch of a two-way radio).
  • (computing) (more usually to key in ) To enter (information) by typing on a keyboard or keypad.
  • Our instructor told us to key in our user IDs.
  • (colloquial) To vandalize (a car, etc.) by scratching with an implement such as a key.
  • He keyed the car that had taken his parking spot.
  • To link (as one might do with a key or legend).
  • * 1960 , Richard L. Masland, "Classification of the Epilepsies", in Epilepsia , volume 1, page 516,
  • The American Heart Association has prepared their own guide to classification and, keying it with the Standard Nomenclature of Diseases , have done much to encourage a concise yet complete diagnosis.
  • * '>citation
  • * '>citation
  • (intransitive, biology, chiefly, taxonomy) To be identified as a certain taxon when using a key.
  • To fasten or secure firmly; to fasten or tighten with keys or wedges.
  • (Francis)
    Derived terms
    * key in * key off * key out * keyed up

    Etymology 2

    Variant of cay, from (etyl) cayo.

    Alternative forms

    * cay


    (en noun)
  • One of a string of small islands.
  • "the Florida Keys "



    Etymology 3