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Kingpin involves a very simple derivation. It comes from the game of bowling. The kingpin is the number 1 pin, placed right at the front of arrangement of 10 pins. It is also called the headpin. If this is struck flush with the bowling ball, the kingpin has the ability to make all the other pins fall (because of the geometrical arrangement). This is what the game of bowling is all about: making all the pins fall. This makes this pin the most important out of the whole lot.

And if we extend this analogy to life, the kingpin becomes the chief or the big boss of any give situation, organization, movement, or system. He is the most important cog in the wheel.

Masters Tip to remember kingpin:

The simple association to remember kingpin with is: BOWLING.
Kingpin is the most vital pin the lot: hit that one and others will fall too.
Similarly in life, the kingpin is the big boss and the one to target.

Dictionary Definition for kingpin:
1. Bowling: headpin or the pin at the center; the number five pin. (noun)
2. The person of chief importance in a corporation, movement, undertaking, etc. (noun)
3. The chief element of any system, plan, or the like. (noun)
4. A kingbolt. (noun)

Usage Examples for kingpin:
1. Investigative Reporter Brian Ross and Joseph Conrad reported on how an airline owned by drug kingpin Fernando Gonzalez was using its aeroplanes for the illegal supply of drugs in Columbia.
2. Tom’s uncle is the kingpin in this organization and he is the fun that runs the show.

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