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From Latin clāvis.


chave f (plural chaves)

  1. key (to open doors)
  2. key (of musical instrument)
  3. key (crucial step)
  4. wrench, spanner
  5. curly bracket
  6. faucet, tap (water faucet)
  7. chokehold


  • (crucial step): clave
  • (device to dispense liquid): billa
  • (device to turn electric current): interruptor

Middle English[edit]


See ch-.



  1. I have
    • William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
      Kissyng and lying ich see is all one:
      And chave no mony, chul tell true therfore.


Portuguese Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia pt


From Old Portuguese chave (key), from Latin clāvis (key), from Proto-Italic *klāwis (bolt, lock, bar), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kleh₂u- (nail, pin, hook - instruments, of old use for locking doors).

Cognate with Galician chave, Spanish llave, Catalan clau, Occitan clau, French clé, Italian chiave and Romanian cheie. Doublet of clave.



chave f (plural chaves)

  1. key (object that opens and closes a lock)
    Chave do portão.
    Key to the gate.
  2. key (object that is inserted into a device and rotated to activate it)
    Chave do carro.
    Car key.
  3. any of several tools designed to turn screws, bolts, nuts, etc., especially a spanner
    Chave de fenda.
  4. (typography) curly bracket (name of the characters { and)}
    Coloque o valor entre chaves.
    Put the value between curly brackets.
  5. (figuratively) key (crucial step, element or requirement)
    Terminar no prazo é a chave para o sucesso de nosso produto.
    Finishing within schedule is the key to our product’s success.
  6. (figuratively) keys (free access to something)
  7. (computing) key; password
  8. (cryptography) key (a string used to encode or decode text)
  9. (databases) key (value that identifies a row in a table)
  10. (music) a key of a wind instrument
  11. (music) tuning lever; tuning wrench; hammer (tool used to tune certain stringed instruments)
  12. winder (key or knob used to wind a clockwork mechanism)
  13. (electricity) the switch of a circuit breaker
  14. (puzzles) the clue to an answer
  15. (sports) group; pool (in a tournament, a set of players or team who play against one another)
  16. (rail transport) the mechanism that activates a switch
  17. (architecture) the keystone of a vault
  18. (music, obsolete) Synonym of clave


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



chave (invariable, comparable)

  1. key; crucial; indispensable

See also[edit]