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[linch-pin] /ˈlɪntʃˌpɪn/
a pin inserted through the end of an axletree to keep the wheel on.
something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together:
The monarchy was the linchpin of the nation's traditions and society.
Also, lynchpin.
Origin of linchpin
1350-1400; unexplained alteration of Middle English lynspin, equivalent to lyns, Old English lynis axle-pin (cognate with German Lünse) + pin pin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for linchpin
  • But let's not forget the linchpin accessory for the schoolyard fashionista-the lunchbox.
  • The linchpin of the process of producing and disseminating scholarship is peer review.
  • Almost immediately, there were unmistakable signs that new surveillance tools would be a linchpin in the war on terrorism.
  • But the linchpin of the administration's effort is a broad push to support small businesses.
  • After all, writing cogent the-sky-is-falling commentary is the linchpin of his for-profit website.
  • Hardware, and the proprietary software that animates our that hardware, is the linchpin in shaping consumer behavior.
  • Recycling is the way of nature and apoptosis, or programmed cell suicide, is the linchpin of the body's recycling program.
  • In her biography, she says that she was the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools.
  • The system, known as peer review, is now considered a linchpin of science.
  • When her husband was away, she became the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools.
British Dictionary definitions for linchpin


a pin placed transversely through an axle to keep a wheel in position
a person or thing regarded as an essential or coordinating element: the linchpin of the company
Word Origin
C14 lynspin, from Old English lynis
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
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Word Origin and History for linchpin

also linch-pin, late 14c., earlier linspin, from Middle English lins "axletree" (see linch) + pin (n.). The peg that holds a wheel on an axle; now mainly figurative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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