kingpin

[king-pin]
noun
1.
Bowling.
b.
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:
1795–1805; king + pin

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
kingpin (ˈkɪŋˌpɪn)
 
n
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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Slang Dictionary

kingpin definition


  1. n.
    a major figure in organized crime. (Underworld. From the term for the front bowling pin in a triangular array of pins.) : The drug kingpins are well protected.
  2. n.
    a boss. : My uncle is the kingpin in this organization.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
With enough seats set aside to accommodate a sizable entourage, the kingpin
  himself rolled in after the opening credits.
The report proposes what many of us have long advocated: a drug kingpin statute.
So instead of touting a big drug seizure, or crowing when it puts a kingpin
  behind bars, it tracks the street price of heroin.
He's the second drug kingpin to be taken down in less than a month.
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