Key Word

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(1) A word used in a text search.

(2) A word in a text document that is used in an index to best describe the contents of the document.

(3) A reserved word in a programming or command language.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Key Word


a meaningful word in a text; used in coordinate indexing of the text. Each key word, like a descriptor, designates a class into which all texts with this word as a component of the basic meaning and content may fit. Unlike descriptors, key words are lexical units of a natural language: the same key word may have many meanings, and many key words may have the same meaning. In information retrieval a list of key words is used as a retrieval mark of a document or a retrieval requirement.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Our facsimile of a Captain Midnight Code-o-Graph works as follows: Because the key word CAPT begins with C, align C on the inner wheel with 1 on the outer wheel.
The key word here is, of course, Churches, and the line "Churches everywhere" concurrently establishes rhythmic and rhetorical bases for subsequent lines.
In this example, the word BANKRUPTCY is the key word. To encode a word, one first splits it into pairs of letters, e.g.: REVERSED.
The game, which is tied to New Jersey's core curriculum standard, is designed to introduce 10 to 15 key words each week.
These are all available at and can be browsed by title, subject or key word.
The final area of the handbook includes a glossary of acronyms and abbreviations, a key word index, a CPT index, and an alphabetical index.
If further research is needed, the function key brings up the research software and a key word search can be implemented.
Missing a key word can make an entire sentence incomprehensible.
CaseBase takes advantage of CD-ROM technology by considering thousands of pages of law books on CD so that users can perform key word searching on cases and statutes.
And when in mid-sentence a word will not come, The punch line is lost when the key word is gone?
By far the bulk of the volumes, however, is taken up with presentation of the repertory, which includes a chronological list of GATT and WTO dispute settlement decisions, decision summaries, and the above mentioned indices, including a key word index that groups decisions by legal concept and subject.