Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off.
  • noun A central cohesive element.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pin inserted in the spindle of the axle of a vehicle to prevent the wheel from slipping off. Also axle-pin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A pin used to prevent the wheel of a vehicle from sliding off the axletree.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a pin inserted through holes at the end of an axle, so as to secure a wheel
  • noun figuratively a central cohesive source of stability and security; a person or thing that is critical to a system or organisation.

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

  • noun pin inserted through an axletree to hold a wheel on
  • noun a central cohesive source of support and stability

Etymologies

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

[Middle English linspin : lins, linchpin (from Old English lynis) + pin, pin (from Old English pinn; see pin).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English lynspin, compound of lins 'axletree' and pin, from Old English lynis 'linchpin', from Proto-Germanic *luniso (compare German Lünse), from Proto-Indo-European (compare Welsh olwyn 'wheel', Armenian ołn 'shoulder', Sanskrit āṇís). Figurative use attested from the mid-20th century.

Examples

  • Times have now changed, Schumer said, and passing a bill is possible by separating illegal from legal immigrants with what he calls the linchpin: a biometric Social Security card that includes digital records of personal characteristics.

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  • More to the point, it would have to survive without McShane as Silas, continue to function dramatically even after the Saul counterpart dies and its linchpin is gone — which seems, at the moment, inconceivable.

    Kings

  • More to the point, it would have to survive without McShane as Silas, continue to function dramatically even after the Saul counterpart dies and its linchpin is gone — which seems, at the moment, inconceivable.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Outlook: The reigning Class AA State Federation champions may run three guards but their linchpin is 6-0 Mike Coburn (16.5 ppg, 6 apg).

    Super 25 boys basketball rankings

  • Maintaining the impossibly high standards set by previous releases from the Bug and soon to be legendary Burial, label linchpin Kode 9 reverts to the format reserved for his own alchemical productions.

    AvaxHome RSS:

  • Their alleged aim is to provoke confrontations to split the people and the army, which the council calls the linchpin of the nation's safety and security.

    Egyptian Protesters Plan 'Second Revolution' Rally

  • Their alleged aim is to provoke confrontations to split the people and the army, which the council calls the linchpin of the nation's safety and security.

    Egyptian Protesters Plan 'Second Revolution' Rally

  • Their alleged aim is to provoke confrontations to split the people and the army, which the council calls the linchpin of the nation's safety and security.

    Egyptian Protesters Plan 'Second Revolution' Rally

  • McChrystal's departure played out against a faltering campaign in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, rising U.S. and NATO casualties on the battlefield, and delays in a Kandahar offensive that has been described as the linchpin to the war effort.

    Gen. McChrystal is dismissed as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan

  • McChrystal's departure played out against a faltering campaign in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, rising U.S. and NATO casualties on the battlefield, and delays in a Kandahar offensive that has been described as the linchpin to the war effort.

    Gen. McChrystal is dismissed as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan

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