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
b : the pin that stands in the middle of a triangular arrangement of bowling pins
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 Ulbricht was charged with seven counts, including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering, and a kingpin statute usually reserved for mafia dons and cartel leaders. Caroline Sommers, CBS News, "Ex-girlfriend of dark web mastermind on dating a man wanted by the FBI," 10 Nov. 2020 The events of this gripping drama led him to a brothel controlled by a pedophile kingpin and later, an auction house. Katey Clifford, al, "How to watch the British drama ‘Save Me Too’ on Peacock," 5 Nov. 2020 McConnell — the kingpin of incumbents in Kentucky— this time around. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "McGrath makes bipartisan pitch to voters asking for their help to beat McConnell," 3 Nov. 2020 On the eve of the referendum for peace, Norte de Santander is in the grip of Los Mil Jesúses, run by a murderous ex-paramilitary who was rehabilitated by the government, served a token prison sentence and re-established himself as a drug kingpin. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Perpetual Battlefield," 9 Oct. 2020 And the Chicago cop doubling as a kingpin for a drug-dealing street gang. Mary Schmich,, "Column: From Chicago’s South Side to a seat on the federal court: RIP to a trailblazing judge who played a sweet sax," 2 Oct. 2020 The league's reputation took another blow last Saturday when longtime kingpin Oklahoma was stunned by Kansas State, leaving only three unbeaten teams at even this early stage of the season. Paul Newberry, Star Tribune, "Column: Playoff expansion only fair option in chaotic season," 2 Oct. 2020 Unlike Billy Martin, previous kingpin for Twins' managerial winning percentage, the odds are several thousand to one against Rocco Baldelli ever getting fired for being a lout. Star Tribune, "Twins' Rocco Baldelli won't be manager of the year again, but his work was just as impressive," 28 Sep. 2020 Schwartzman seems to be having fun with his would-be mob kingpin role. oregonlive, "‘Fargo’: Even a flawed season is better than almost anything else on TV (review)," 22 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for kingpin

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The first known use of kingpin was in 1773

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kingpin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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How to pronounce kingpin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of kingpin

: a person who controls an organization or activity

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