ring·​lead·​er | \ ˈriŋ-ˌlē-dər How to pronounce ringleader (audio) \

Definition of ringleader

: a leader of a ring of individuals engaged especially in improper or unlawful activities

Examples of ringleader in a Sentence

the ringleader of a gang of criminals
Recent Examples on the Web Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral has thrown nine touchdowns without an interception as the ringleader of an offense that leads the FBS in yards and points per game. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2021 Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, had aggressively positioned himself as the ringleader of Trump's merry band of conspiracy theorists. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 21 Sep. 2021 After four weeks and an avalanche of witnesses portraying R. Kelly as the predatory ringleader of a long-running criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are expected to rest their case in chief as soon as Monday. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, 17 Sep. 2021 Naturally, Báez — hitting just .240 and having been here for about five minutes, much of it spent on the injured list — is another ringleader of the players’ anti-fan protest. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 30 Aug. 2021 Yet, under a microscope herself, Bryant has been the ringleader for problematic statements against Osefo’s new look. Tameka Amado, Essence, 25 Aug. 2021 The trial turned into a circus, with Mr. Edwards as the ringleader. Washington Post, 12 July 2021 Investigators ultimately caught up to each of them, though ringleader Andino escaped to Spain and wasn’t apprehended until eight years after the shooting. Marc Freeman, sun-sentinel.com, 8 Aug. 2021 The trial turned into a circus, with Mr. Edwards as the ringleader. Washington Post, 12 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ringleader.' 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 ringleader

circa 1503, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of ringleader was circa 1503

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ringleader.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ringleader. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ringleader

: the leader of a group that causes trouble or is involved in an illegal activity


ring·​lead·​er | \ ˈriŋ-ˌlē-dər How to pronounce ringleader (audio) \

Kids Definition of ringleader

: a leader especially of a group of people who cause trouble

More from Merriam-Webster on ringleader

Nglish: Translation of ringleader for Spanish Speakers


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