\ ˈkiŋ How to pronounce king (audio) \

Definition of king

 (Entry 1 of 9)

1a : a male monarch of a major territorial unit especially : one whose position is hereditary and who rules for life
b : a paramount chief
2 capitalized : god, christ … to worship the King, the Lord of hosts … — Zechariah 14:16 (Revised Standard Version)
3 : one that holds a preeminent position especially : a chief among competitors the cattle kings rode up from the south — Alan Moorehead even if no longer king, cotton remains the chief cash crop — Howell Walker
4 : the principal piece of each color in chess having the power to move ordinarily one square in any direction and to capture opposing pieces but being obliged never to enter or remain in check
5 : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a king
6 : a checker that has been crowned


biographical name (1)
\ ˈkiŋ How to pronounce King (audio) \

Definition of King (Entry 2 of 9)

B. B. 1925–2015 originally Riley B. King American blues musician


biographical name (2)

Definition of King (Entry 3 of 9)

Billie Jean 1943–     née Moffitt American tennis player


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Definition of King (Entry 4 of 9)

Ernest Joseph 1878–1956 American admiral


biographical name (4)

Definition of King (Entry 5 of 9)

Martin Luther, Jr. 1929–1968 American clergyman and civil rights leader


biographical name (5)

Definition of King (Entry 6 of 9)

Rufus 1755–1827 American politician and diplomat


biographical name (6)

Definition of King (Entry 7 of 9)

Stephen (Edwin) 1947–     American writer


biographical name (7)

Definition of King (Entry 8 of 9)

William Lyon Mackenzie 1874–1950 Canadian statesman; prime minister (1921–26; 1926–30; 1935–48)


biographical name (8)

Definition of King (Entry 9 of 9)

William Rufus de Vane 1786–1853 American politician; vice president of the U.S. (1853)

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Examples of king in a Sentence

Noun He pledged his loyalty to the king and queen. the reign of King James He became king at a young age. He's widely regarded as the king of soul music. He was voted king of the prom. The lion is known as the king of the jungle. She won the game by checkmating his king.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Especially considering Styles normally remains ultra-private regarding his romantic life, fans were a bit blindsided by seeing our dapper king appear so unabashed about his new relationship. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Twitter Is Coming Together to Mourn Harry Styles No Longer Being a Single Man," 4 Jan. 2021 In a humble but well-done production, Brave Spirits had Richard II crowned and killed, and his successor, Henry Bolingbroke, a.k.a. Henry IV, was named the new king. New York Times, "Lost in 2020: Epic Shakespeare, and the Theater That Planned It," 29 Dec. 2020 The New Jerusalem is real, but its king has made his home among us, and so that kingdom too is already here, nested in the things of this world. James Matthew Wilson, WSJ, "Finding the Sacred in the Delights of Christmas," 24 Dec. 2020 The high school crowned its homecoming king and queen, and sports teams played and scrimmaged before cheering parents, few of whom covered their faces. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Two School Districts Had Different Mask Policies. Only One Had a Teacher on a Ventilator.," 23 Nov. 2020 When Vajiralongkorn was officially coronated in 2019, three years after his father’s death, the new king was given Rama X as his regnal name. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "As Thailand’s economy shrinks, protesters question the $40 billion value of the King," 31 Oct. 2020 Following the York defeat in the Wars of the Roses, the House of Tudor took control of the monarchy, and the new king, Henry VII married Margaret's cousin, Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, solidifying his children's claims to the throne. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What Margaret Pole, Laura Carmichael’s Character on The Spanish Princess, Was Really Like," 9 Oct. 2020 Ummi is later forced to team up with Queen Amina of Zaria, a Hausa warrior from the mid-16th century to fight the new king of Rano who was terrorizing the town. Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "This 23-year-old Nigerian is creating a digital collection of African stories for children in different languages," 21 Aug. 2020 Still, the new French king sent another expedition in 1838 with 12 warships to force the Haitian president’s hand. Marlene Daut, Quartz Africa, "How France extorted Haiti for one of the greatest heists in geopolitical history," 3 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'king.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of king


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for king


Middle English, from Old English cyning; akin to Old High German kuning king, Old English cynn kin

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Time Traveler for king

Time Traveler

The first known use of king was before the 12th century

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Statistics for king

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“King.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for king


How to pronounce King (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of king

: a male ruler of a country who usually inherits his position and rules for life
: a boy or man who is highly respected and very successful or popular
: a boy or man who is awarded the highest honor for an event or contest


\ ˈkiŋ How to pronounce king (audio) \

Kids Definition of king

1 : a male ruler of a country who usually inherits his position and rules for life
2 : a person or thing that is better or more important than all others the king of jazz
3 : the chief piece in the game of chess
4 : a playing card bearing the picture of a king
5 : a piece in checkers that has reached the opponent's back row

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Comments on king

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