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See also: turn-key



turn +‎ key


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɜː(ɹ)nˌkiː/
  • (file)


turnkey (comparative more turnkey, superlative most turnkey)

  1. Ready to use without further assembly or test; supplied in a state that is ready to turn on and operate (typically refers to an assembly that is outsourced for manufacture)
    They wanted a turnkey solution for the entire system, but we could only provide the enclosure.
    • 1980, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 1980, Kathleen Bailey, When and why weapons; page 42
      Third World countries no longer want to purchase nuclear projects on a turn-key basis; they want to receive advanced technical training as well.
    • 2023 March 22, Ben West, “This 835-Year-Old English Manor Needs Some Modern Love”, in The New York Times[1]:
      He cautioned that the house “is not turnkey,” and that because it is “so unusual,” it may take a while to sell. But, he added, “It’s a joy to be selling a property with its history.”



turnkey (plural turnkeys)

  1. (now archaic) A warder or jailer/gaoler; keeper of the keys in a prison.
    • 1834 [1799], Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Robert Southey, “The Devil's Thoughts”, in The Poetical Works of S. T. Coleridge, volume II, London: W. Pickering, page 86:
      He saw the same Turnkey unfetter a man / With but little expedition, / Which put him in mind of the long debate / On the Slave-trade abolition.
    • 1836 March – 1837 October, Charles Dickens, “(please specify the chapter name)”, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1837, →OCLC:
      [] they passed through an open door into a lobby, from which a heavy gate, opposite to that by which they had entered, and which was guarded by a stout turnkey with the key in his hand, led at once into the interior of the prison.
    • 1883, Thomas Hardy, The Three Strangers[2]:
      'Certainly not,' said the turnkey; and the first corroborated his statement.



turnkey (third-person singular simple present turnkeys, present participle turnkeying, simple past and past participle turnkeyed)

  1. To supply a turnkey product; to supply something fully assembled and ready to use.
    We can sell you all the parts, or we can turnkey the entire unit.