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lynchpin

[linch-pin]
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noun
  1. linchpin.

linchpin

or lynch·pin

[linch-pin]
noun
  1. a pin inserted through the end of an axletree to keep the wheel on.
  2. something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together: The monarchy was the linchpin of the nation's traditions and society.

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lynchpin

lynchpin

noun
  1. a variant spelling of linchpin

linchpin

lynchpin

noun
  1. a pin placed transversely through an axle to keep a wheel in position
  2. a person or thing regarded as an essential or coordinating elementthe 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

Word Origin and History for lynchpin

linchpin

n.

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