DeepL translates ドアのカギを外してください to either "Remove the key from the door", "Unlock the door", or "Remove the door lock"

Which one of these is the more common meaning or is the meaning only solidified with context?

  • 1
    You can search for "door guard" or "door chain". 外す can be used for these situations, e.g. チェーン外して(ください) although we could say "あける" and it would makes sense. Modern homes have door guards, old ones have chains. Some people don't know how to call the "door guards" so they would refer to them as カギ. Many have experienced working late, only to return home and your wife has left the door guard in locked position, and she's asleep...
    – dungarian
    Oct 25 at 4:04
  • @dungarian What is a "door guard"? I've tried looking it up but I just get hits for plastic doohickeys to put on car doors to prevent them from getting scratched.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 25 at 5:57
  • I must've used the wrong term! Sorry, how about search for "U字ロック 玄関" ? Without 玄関 you'll get bike locks.
    – dungarian
    Oct 25 at 6:05

If I have no context and both 鍵 and ドア are new information to me, I would understand it as a request to remove a lock from a door.

If I already know from context that no screwdriver is involved, I would understand it as a request to either:

  1. unlock the door, if the lock is a chain lock, which requires the action that can be described by the verb 外す to unlock


  1. remove a key from a lock, if the key is left inserted.

Even when these conditions are satisfied, I would still think the request is phrased strangely because I would say either 鍵を開けてください or チェーンを外してください for the first case and 鍵を抜いてください for the second if I were on the requesting side.


ドアの鍵を外す is natural only when you are dealing with a lock like this:


In this situation, all the three translations DeepL gave would work the same way, don't they?

The normal translation of "to unlock" is 鍵を開ける. It's used also with electronic locks that can be opened with IC cards. Most people don't usually have to say 鍵を外す in their daily lives. If they do, it would mean breaking the lock or uninstalling the locking mechanism from the door entirely.

EDIT: 鍵を外す is used also when removing the locked/prviate status, e.g., from an SNS account.

  • Can't you put a key a little bit into a padlock and then take it out. Oct 25 at 9:08
  • @user2617804 Do you mean (南京錠から鍵を)抜く?
    – naruto
    Oct 25 at 9:47

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