key, spanner, wrench, clef [noun] [de sleutel, de sleutels] [‘sleu-tul’]

The word "sleutel" is mostly used for keys to a lock of some kind. If you want, specifiy by adding a noun: "fietssleutel", "autosleutel", "kastsleutel" etc.

If you need a copy of a key, the common place to go is the shoe repairman, but certain hardware stores might provide this service too. Although they will only copy keys, such a place is also called a "sleutelmaker": a key maker, or a "sleutelmakerij": a place where one makes keys. Alternatively you might hear "slotenmaker": locksmith.

When clear from context you can use "sleutel" in the meaning of spanner or wrench, but if necessary you can specifiy the "sleutel" a bit more (see Related words).

Although "sleutel" can translate to "clef", it does not translate to the musical "key" of a composition. In case of the latter, we say "toonsoort" (lit. "kind of tone").

– "<man tegen vrouw:> Heb jij mijn sleutels ergens zien liggen? Waarom ben ik deze toch altijd kwijt!"
("<man to woman:> Have you seen my keys lying around somewhere? Why do I always lose them!")

– "Zelfvertrouwen is de sleutel tot succes."
("Self-confidence is the key to success.")

– "Ik zal voor jou een sleutel laten namaken, dat is wel zo gemakkelijk!"
("I will have a key copied for you, that will make things easier!")

– "Je moet oppassen want je fietssleutel is helemaal verbogen; straks breekt hij nog!"
("You have to be careful because your bicycle key is completely bent; it might break!")

– "Laatst was ik zo dronken dat het me niet lukte om de sleutel in het slot te steken."
("I was so drunk the other day that I was unable to put the key into the lock.")

Related words:
– "Sleutelbos": bunch of keys.
– "Sleutelhanger": key ring.
– "G-sleutel": G clef.
– "Versleutelen": to encrypt.
– "Slot": lock.
– "Sleutelgat": keyhole.
– "Sleutelpositie": key position.
– "Engelse sleutel": monkey wrench, adjustable spanner.
– "Dopsleutel": socket spanner, socket wrench.
– "Inbussleutel": hex key, Allen key. Sometimes called an "IKEA-sleuteltje" since you always get these when you buy a do-it-yourself kit at IKEA.
– "Dropsleutel": typically Dutch key-shaped liquorice. They are also sold in fruit flavour. See an animation at Redband, the main producer in the Netherlands.