king·​pin | \ ˈkiŋ-ˌpin How to pronounce kingpin (audio) \

Definition of kingpin

1 : the chief person in a group or undertaking
2 : any of several bowling pins: such as
a : headpin
b : the pin that stands in the middle of a triangular arrangement of bowling pins
3a : kingbolt
b : a pin connecting the two parts of a knuckle joint (as in an automobile steering linkage)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of kingpin in a Sentence

kingpins of the movie industry a police sting that nabbed several kingpins of the city's drug trade
Recent Examples on the Web The kingpin of Goodwin Sports Management and Damian Lillard’s agent may be engineering one of the most deft power plays in Trail Blazers’ history. John Canzano, oregonlive, 5 June 2021 Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of the Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2021 Published in 1999, the book by Sister Souljah takes its name from its teenage protagonist, Winter Santiaga, the pampered daughter of a Brooklyn drug kingpin. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, 28 May 2021 Four more kilos of cocaine, including a brick decorated with a photo of infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s mugshot, have turned up on Alabama’s Gulf Coast after 31 kilos washed ashore on Monday, police said. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 20 May 2021 Yoakum’s biological father was sentenced in 2010 to 13 years in prison and was described in court as a kingpin of a Crip gang drug-distribution ring in Portland. oregonlive, 20 May 2021 Of course, the assassination of a Hamas kingpin or the capture of an Israeli soldier would trigger a major escalation, likely resulting in the deaths of large numbers of Gaza civilians. Joseph Krauss, Star Tribune, 14 May 2021 The book is set in a New York housing project during the 1960s, where an elderly man jump-starts the plot by shooting a drug kingpin. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2021 Wright guided 'Nova to two national titles in three years in 2016 and 2018, and he's led the program to the Sweet 16 seven times while establishing it as the perennial kingpin of the Big East. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of kingpin

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About kingpin

Time Traveler for kingpin

Time Traveler

The first known use of kingpin was in 1773

See more words from the same year

Statistics for kingpin

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kingpin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kingpin



English Language Learners Definition of kingpin

: a person who controls an organization or activity

More from Merriam-Webster on kingpin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kingpin


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!