Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Sports The innermost or central pin in an arrangement of bowling pins.
  • n. Sports See headpin.
  • n. The most important person or element in an enterprise or system.
  • n. See kingbolt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The axis around which steered wheels pivot; a bolt that holds the axis in place—a kingbolt.
  • n. The pin at the centre of the triangle of bowling pins (originally the tallest pin in kayles). Sometimes also the headpin at the apex.
  • n. The most important person in an undertaking or organization.
  • n. The bolt holding together the truck of a roller skate or skateboard.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the most important person in a group or undertaking
  • n. bolt that provides a steering joint in a motor vehicle
  • n. the front bowling pin in the triangular arrangement of ten pins

Etymologies

king + pin (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Now it reminds me of a Jamie Oliver episode: Google, the Internet search kingpin, is conducting a huge search of its own: It is scouring the world for a pair of executive chefs.

    Googleplex-ees Hungry

  • Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world and is sometimes referred to as the kingpin of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

    NewsBlaze.com Current News - Top Stories

  • John Leland visits the set of Ridley Scott's American Gangster, "based on the real-life heroin kingpin Frank Lucas [Denzel Washington] and the detective-turned-prosecutor Richie Roberts [Russell Crowe]," and contemplates the evolution of the genre: "In a nation of immigrants, the movies pit audience sympathy for the new immigrant against fear of the unassimilated ethnic clan.

    GreenCine Daily: Sunday shorts.

  • Mr. Chavez, who denies ties to the guerillas, has warned that Washington plans to use Mr. Makled, described as a "kingpin among kingpins" by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, to attack his administration.

    Colombia Will Extradite Drug Kingpin to Venezuela Instead of U.S.

  • The Major Narcotics Trafficking Statute, also known as the kingpin law and passed in October, carries the highest penalty for a drug conviction, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

    Greater New York Watch

  • One never hears about the kingpin of the fried chicken racket, and the patriarch of an old family of brewers is never referred to as a kingpin.

    CHASING the WHITE DOG

  • Duck was, to listen to the agents and to read the indictment, the key player, the so-called kingpin.

    CHASING the WHITE DOG

  • MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN, METRO TRAILER: The Kingpin lock, basically, attaches underneath to trailer, to the kingpin, which is what attaches to the inside of the trailer.

    CNN Transcript Jun 17, 2007

  • Chodo Contague, often called the kingpin, is the grand master of organized crime in TunFaire.

    Dread Brass Shadows

  • The proposed law carries a maximum sentence of 20 to 25 years in prison with stiffer penalties for so-called "kingpin" traffickers.

    News - latimes.com

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  • Used in the Same Context
    Shane · abusers · artillerist · bostonian · commissure · from · frost-covered

    March 20, 2011

  • "A people-smuggling kingpin has been found among Tamils on a boat they are refusing to leave at an Indonesian port, potentially bolstering efforts to disrupt a wave of illegal arrivals in Australia. Abraham Lauhenapessy, known as Captain Bram, has brought more than 1500 asylum seekers to Australia since he emerged as a pivotal organiser of Indonesia's people-smuggling operations in 1999."
    - Lindsay Murdoch & Mark Davis, People-smuggler arrested on Tamil boat, theage.com.au, 19 October 2009.

    October 19, 2009