- The definition of a quay is a wharf or platform built into the water and used to load or unload ships or other sea vessels.
A concrete or stone dock for loading boats is an example of a quay.
Boats tied up at a quay in Italy.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Origin: Middle English kei from Middle French cai from Celtic (as inch(es) Welsh cae and amp; Breton kai, enclosure) from Indo-European base an unverified form kagh-, to enclose from source hedge: eastern; English spelling, spelled influenced, influence by French quai (OFr cai), of same origin, originally
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Origin: Middle English keye, from Old North French cai, of Celtic origin.