Simple Definition of linchpin
: a person or thing that holds something together : the most important part of a complex situation or system
Full Definition of linchpin
1 : a locking pin inserted crosswise (as through the end of an axle or shaft)
2 : one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit <the linchpin in the defense's case>
Examples of linchpin in a sentence
This witness is the linchpin of the defense's case.
Did You Know?
There was the good old custom of taking the linch-pins out of the farmers' and bagmens' gigs at the fairs, and a cowardly blackguard custom it was. That custom, described by British writer Thomas Hughes in his 1857 novel Tom Brown's School Days, was "blackguard" indeed. The linchpin in question held the wheel on the carriage and removing it made it likely that the wheel would come off as the vehicle moved. Such a pin was called a "lynis" in Old English; Middle English speakers added "pin" to form "lynspin." Modern English speakers modified it to "linchpin" and, in the mid-20th century, began using the term figuratively for anything as critical to a complex situation as a linchpin is to a wagon.
Variants of linchpin
Origin of linchpin
Middle English lynspin, from lyns linchpin (from Old English lynis) + pin; akin to Middle High German luns linchpin
First Known Use: 13th century
Rhymes with linchpin
add-in, again, akin, all-in, backspin, bearskin, begin, Benin, blow in, Boleyn, bowfin, break-in, bring in, buckskin, build in, built-in, burn-in, butt in, calfskin, call in, call-in, capeskin, cash in, cave-in, chagrin, check in, check-in, chime in, chip in, clothespin, come in, coonskin, crankpin, cut in, deerskin, dig in, doeskin, do in, draw in, drive-in, drop in, duckpin, dustbin, edge in, fade-in, fall in, fill in, fill-in, foreskin, Fuxin, get in, give in, goatskin, go in, Guilin, hairpin, hand in, hang in, Harbin, has-been, headpin, herein, horn in, Jilin, kick in, kidskin, kingpin, lambskin, lay in, lead-in, lie-in, live-in, lived-in, lobe-fin, locked-in, log in, look-in, love-in, moleskin, move in, munchkin, Nankin, ninepin, no-win, oilskin, phone-in, pigskin, pinyin, pitch in, plug-in, plugged-in, pull in, punch in, pushpin, put in, rub in, ruin, run in, run-in, saimin, scarfpin, scarfskin, sealskin, send in, set in, sharkskin, shear pin, sheepskin, shoo-in, shut-in, sidespin, sign in, sit-in, sleep in, sleep-in, sloe gin, snakeskin, sock in, stand in, stand-in, step in, stickpin, suck in, swanskin, swear in, swim fin, tail fin, tailspin, take in, tap-in, teach-in, tenpin, therein, tholepin, threadfin, throw in, tie-in, tiepin, tip-in, toe-in, Tonkin, topspin, trade in, trade-in, tune in, tuned-in, Turin, turn in, unpin, walk-in, wear thin, weigh in, wherein, whip in, wineskin, win-win, within, woolskin, work in, wrist pin, write-in, Yeltsin
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