Why are islands in Florida called "Key"?

Where does this word come from? Could it possibly be derived from "quay" and now just shows an Americanized spelling?

Update:

@ Todd T

That makes sense. I hadn't thought of Spanish.

BTW, are the spellings you were unsure about these ones?

bone - el hueso

island - el cayo

4 Answers

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  • Todd T
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I know! I know!

    I just don't know how to spell it. The original name of Key West was Cayo Oueso - "bone island" (it's like a reef) . That was Americanized into Key West.

    This word I can't spell - Cayo - I believe was Spanish.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Todd T is correct.

    "Cayo" in Spanish became "key" and "hueso" (bone) was translated as "West" perhaps because of the similar pronunciation.

    Some of the other Florida's keys have kept their Spanish name:

    Key Largo (long) - Islamorada (purple island).

    .

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  • 1 decade ago

    Key, Cayo, Quay are all the same thing.

    [Origin: 1690–1700; sp. var. (after F quai) of earlier kay (also key, whence the mod. pronunciation) < OF kay, cay; akin to Sp cayo shoal. See key2]

    Dictionary.com is an excellent site for this type of query.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would think that they are called "keys" because their shapes suggest such a thing. Peace and God Bless.

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