follow Dictionary.com

Denotation vs. Connotation

kingpin

[king-pin] /ˈkɪŋˌpɪn/
noun
1.
Bowling.
  1. headpin.
  2. the pin at the center; the number five pin.
2.
Informal. the person of chief importance in a corporation, movement, undertaking, etc.
3.
Informal. the chief element of any system, plan, or the like.
4.
a kingbolt.
5.
either of the pins that are a part of the mechanism for turning the front wheels in some automotive steering systems.
Origin of kingpin
1795-1805
1795-1805; king + pin
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for kingpin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On every block he met acquaintances who had even toasted him—with his own wine; toasted him as the kingpin.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • You are to be a kingpin witness in my case against two pickpockets.

    The Arrow of Fire Roy J. Snell
  • I just went out and sent that whole moving picture outfit reeling, kingpin and all!

    The Shriek Charles Somerville
  • But there's another day, and the kingpin and I may yet lock horns.

  • He said he was the kingpin of the tooth-pullers, and I believe he was.

    Mind and Body William Walker Atkinson
  • Wait now, Bertrand Meade, who seemed to be the kingpin of the whole movement—yes, Meade owned that tiny island.

    The Sensitive Man Poul William Anderson
  • The kingpin of the whole structure erected above the deck of a yacht is the bobstay.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • The rookies, too, look up to you as a kingpin pitcher and batter, and theyll be just clay in your hands.

British Dictionary definitions for kingpin

kingpin

/ˈkɪŋˌpɪn/
noun
1.
the most important person in an organization
2.
the crucial or most important feature of a theory, argument, etc
3.
Also called (Brit) swivel pin. a pivot pin that provides a steering joint in a motor vehicle by securing the stub axle to the axle beam
4.
(tenpin bowling) the front pin in the triangular arrangement of the ten pins
5.
(in ninepins) the central pin in the diamond pattern of the nine pins
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for kingpin
n.

also king-pin, 1801 as the name of the large pin in the game of kayles (similar to bowls except a club or stick was thrown instead of a ball; cf. "Games, Gaming and Gamesters' Laws," Frederick Brandt, London, 1871), from king with a sense of "chief" + pin (n.). The modern use is mainly figurative and is perhaps from the word's use as another name for the king-bolt (itself from 1825) in a machinery, though the figurative use is attested earlier (1867) than the literal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for kingpin

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for kingpin

14
18
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for kingpin