kingpin

noun king·pin \ ˈkiŋ-ˌpin \
Updated on: 10 Jan 2018

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
3 a : kingbolt
b : a pin connecting the two parts of a knuckle joint (as in an automobile steering linkage)

Examples of kingpin in a Sentence

  1. kingpins of the movie industry

  2. a police sting that nabbed several kingpins of the city's drug trade

Recent Examples of kingpin from the Web

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.

First Known Use of kingpin

1773


KINGPIN Defined for English Language Learners

kingpin

noun

Definition of kingpin for English Language Learners

  • : a person who controls an organization or activity



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to lessen the seriousness or strength of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's That From? A Word Origin Quiz

  • turris-babel-by-athanasius-kircher
  • What language gave the word robot to English?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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