ring·​lead·​er ˈriŋ-ˌlē-dər How to pronounce ringleader (audio)
: 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 The 20-year-old was considered the ringleader of the crime, the AP reports. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 18 May 2024 Six individuals, led by ringleader Bradley Chilton, systematically poached deer in Nevada County over several months in 2023. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 2 May 2024 That was a promise that might have felt necessary because Lefebvre, 56, doesn’t come off as the circus ringleader type. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 24 Apr. 2024 What shocked many of his supporters was that the judge sentenced Crespo — who was convicted of obstructing justice but acquitted of drug trafficking — to more prison time than the ringleader who sold thousands of pills of Oxycodone on the streets of Hialeah. Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, 24 Jan. 2024 Middleton, whom federal prosecutors described as the ringleader of the group, was sentenced later that day and made no eye contact with the victims during his sentencing. Emma Tucker, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 The defendants include a 21-year-old Richmond woman — who police say was the ringleader — as well as her mother and her mother’s fiance, court records show. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 9 Apr. 2024 Five of those indicted alongside him have pleaded guilty to their crimes, each fingering Pratt as the ringleader. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2024 By now everyone knows the ringleader of The Eras Tour, but what about the cast and crew who shine alongside her? Bryan West, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ringleader.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1503, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ringleader was circa 1503

Dictionary Entries Near ringleader

Cite this Entry

“Ringleader.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ringleader. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ring·​lead·​er ˈriŋ-ˌlēd-ər How to pronounce ringleader (audio)
: a leader especially of a group of persons who cause trouble

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