top of page
The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce kingpin (audio)

Dictionary definition of kingpin

A person or thing that holds a position of utmost importance and influence within an organization or operation, playing a crucial role in its success.
"The kingpin of the drug cartel controls the entire distribution network."

Detailed meaning of kingpin

This term originated from the world of organized crime, where the kingpin represented the central figure who controlled and orchestrated various illegal activities. In a broader sense, a kingpin can be seen as the linchpin, the vital component without which the entire structure would collapse. The kingpin possesses exceptional power, authority, and expertise, often acting as the primary decision-maker and strategist. They have an intricate understanding of the inner workings of the organization or operation, and their actions and decisions heavily impact its overall functioning and outcomes. Without the presence of a competent and influential kingpin, the organization or operation would likely struggle to function effectively or achieve its goals.

Example sentences containing kingpin

1. The CEO is considered the kingpin of the company, as their vision drives its success.
2. The team captain is the kingpin of our basketball team, leading us to victory.
3. The head chef is the kingpin of the restaurant, ensuring the kitchen runs smoothly.
4. Without a strong kingpin, the criminal syndicate would fall into chaos.
5. The lead developer is the kingpin of the software project, coordinating the team's efforts.
6. In espionage, the double agent can be the kingpin that determines the outcome of a mission.

History and etymology of kingpin

The term 'kingpin' has its origins in the world of sports, specifically in bowling. The word 'kingpin' was originally used to refer to the central pin in a group of ten pins set up for a game of bowling. This central pin, also known as the 'kingpin,' holds a pivotal position in the arrangement, as knocking it down often leads to the collapse of the surrounding pins. Over time, this bowling term made its way into broader colloquial usage to describe a person or thing that holds a position of utmost importance and influence within an organization or operation, playing a crucial role in its success. So, the etymology of 'kingpin' reflects its evolution from the world of bowling to a metaphorical representation of a key figure or element in any significant endeavor.

Quiz: Find the meaning of kingpin

Try Again!


Further usage examples of kingpin

1. The conductor is the kingpin of the orchestra, directing each musician's performance.
2. The central server is the kingpin of the network, connecting all the devices and enabling communication.
3. The project manager acts as the kingpin of the construction site, overseeing all aspects of the project.
4. The mastermind behind the operation is the kingpin, pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
5. The financial analyst is the kingpin of the investment firm, guiding investment decisions.
6. The marketing director is the kingpin of the advertising campaign, strategizing to maximize its impact.
7. The queen is the kingpin of the chessboard, protecting the king and leading the battle.
8. The influential lobbyist acts as the kingpin, shaping policies and influencing lawmakers.
9. The kingpin of the criminal empire operated from the shadows.
10. She was the undisputed kingpin of the fashion industry.
11. The tech giant's CEO was considered the kingpin of innovation.
12. The drug lord was the ruthless kingpin of the underworld.
13. He had ambitions of becoming the kingpin of the music scene.
14. The kingpin's arrest dealt a significant blow to the cartel.
15. The mastermind behind the heist was the true kingpin.
16. The kingpin of the political party wielded immense power.
17. In the drug trade, the kingpin controlled the entire operation.
18. The kingpin's influence extended into every corner of the business.
19. The kingpin's charisma drew people to his criminal enterprise.
20. She emerged as the kingpin of the startup community.
21. The kingpin's network of informants was unparalleled.
22. He aspired to be the kingpin of the technology startup world.
23. The kingpin's capture disrupted the criminal organization.
24. The kingpin's wealth was a testament to his cunning.
25. The corporate kingpin made strategic decisions with precision.
26. The kingpin's downfall led to the dismantling of the syndicate.
27. She aimed to become the kingpin of the entertainment industry.
28. The kingpin's web of connections reached the highest echelons.



leader, underling, subordinate, follower


SAT 18 (Scholastic Assessment Test), High School 2, Power and Control

bottom of page