king·​pin | \ˈkiŋ-ˌpin \

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)

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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

Law enforcement groups around the world, including the FBI, Interpol, and Canadian and Italian agencies, have successfully indicted and arrest various kingpin scammers. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever," 3 May 2018 His tactic of capturing or killing kingpins caused the gangs to split into warring factions and to enter new lines of business. The Economist, "Mexico’s murder rate heads for a new record," 5 May 2018 Harris was convicted in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court by Judge Michael Wachs of violating the drug kingpin statute, which is used in cases when a defendant has allegedly organized or managed the sale of a large quantity of drugs. Liz Bowie,, "Baltimore man convicted of selling large quantities of prescription drugs out of medical facility," 4 May 2018 Godoy, who was assigned as a bodyguard to protect drug kingpin Ernesto Fonseca, said the missionaries were tortured, and the women raped. Jason Whitely And Mark Smith, star-telegram, "Did 'El Chapo' kill a Fort Worth student in 1985? This retired Mexican officer says yes | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Apr. 2018 To say that the hip-hop community has rallied around him would be an understatement, from entertainment kingpin Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation company manages Mill, to Canadian superstar Drake, who famously beefed with the Philadelphia rapper in 2015. Dan Deluca,, "Meek Mill, freed from prison, has his biggest audience ever," 24 Apr. 2018 But advocates say there are smaller-bore efforts that could help bring social change, in addition to a focus on ending day-to-day corruption in the police or the judiciary, as opposed to targeting the big drug kingpins. Will Bunch,, "The place to save desperate, crying kids isn't the U.S. border. It's Honduras and Guatemala | Will Bunch," 21 June 2018 Graver’s move is to foster a cartel civil war by kidnapping Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner), the daughter of a kingpin, and pretending she was taken by a rival gang. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," 2 July 2018 But Priest's big drug deal also takes him over the border to deal with the fearsome kingpin of a Mexican cartel (Esai Morales). J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Superfly rolls back the clock on African-American movie heroes," 21 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of kingpin

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for kingpin

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for kingpin

The first known use of kingpin was in 1773

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English Language Learners Definition of kingpin

: a person who controls an organization or activity

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to enclose within walls

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