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)

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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

Uncle Henry, our ex-pimp, ex–drug-kingpin of an elder. Mitchell S. Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Opportunity Cost," 10 Feb. 2019 In its latest use-what-already-exists effort, the brand partnered with Dockers, the 33-year-old khaki kingpin, to recut and reinterpret overstocked chinos—normally delegated to the dump or a discount dealer like TJ Maxx. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Does ‘Sustainable Fashion’ Really Mean Anything?," 17 June 2019 That’s right, Vincent D’Onofrio is once again playing Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. the elegant kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen and the single best thing about that first installment of Netflix’s Daredevil, about Marvel’s blind vigilante superhero. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Daredevil season 3 is a return to what made the show so good in season 1," 15 Oct. 2018 When your boss is the alleged kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel, the protocol is a little different. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 Willocks apologized for his involvement during Monday’s sentencing but denied being the kingpin. Blake Nicholson, The Seattle Times, "Man said to be Jamaican lottery scam kingpin gets 6 years," 15 Oct. 2018 Seeing Colorado, the temporary kingpins of the division, for the first time this week revealed the mediocrity of the competition. Andy Mccullough,, "Kenta Maeda’s strikeouts have Dodgers in striking distance," 24 May 2018 The explosion conjured up images of Colombia’s struggle with cocaine gangs in the 1980s and ‘90s, when terror bombings were frequently carried out by drug cartel kingpins. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Car Bomb at Colombian Police Academy Kills 21," 18 Jan. 2019 Graver aims to start a war between Mexican drug cartels by kidnapping a kingpin's daughter (Isabela Moner). Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Sicario' star Josh Brolin is smiling over his killer summer, even with superhero deaths," 26 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

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kingpin

The first known use of kingpin was in 1773

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More Definitions for kingpin



English Language Learners Definition of kingpin

: a person who controls an organization or activity

More from Merriam-Webster on kingpin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kingpin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kingpin

Comments on kingpin

What made you want to look up kingpin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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