- a male sovereign or monarch; a man who holds by life tenure, and usually by hereditary right, the chief authority over a country and people.
- (initial capital letter) God or Christ.
- a person or thing preeminent in its class: a king of actors.
- a playing card bearing a picture of a king.
- Chess. the chief piece of each color, whose checkmating is the object of the game; moved one square at a time in any direction.
- Checkers. a piece that has been moved entirely across the board and has been crowned, thus allowing it to be moved in any direction.
- Entomology. a fertile male termite.
- a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter K.
- to make a king of; cause to be or become a king; crown.
- Informal. to design or make (a product) king-size: The tobacco company is going to king its cigarettes.
- to reign as king.
- Informal. king-size.
- king it, to play the king; behave in an imperious or pretentious manner: He kinged it over all the other kids on the block.
Origin of king
- a male sovereign prince who is the official ruler of an independent state; monarchRelated adjectives: royal, regal, monarchical
- a ruler or chiefking of the fairies
- (in combination)the pirate king
- a person, animal, or thing considered as the best or most important of its kind
- (as modifier)a king bull
- any of four playing cards in a pack, one for each suit, bearing the picture of a king
- the most important chess piece, although theoretically the weakest, being able to move only one square at a time in any directionSee also check (def. 30), checkmate
- draughts a piece that has moved entirely across the board and has been crowned, after which it may move backwards as well as forwards
- king of kings
- a title of any of various oriental monarchs
- to make (someone) a king
- king it to act in a superior fashion
Word Origin for king
- B.B., real name Riley B. King. born 1925, US blues singer and guitarist
- Billie Jean (née Moffitt). born 1943, US tennis player: winner of twelve Grand Slam singles titles, including Wimbledon (1966–68, 1972–73, and 1975) and the US Open (1967, 1971–72, and 1974)
- Martin Luther. 1929–68, US Baptist minister and civil-rights leader. He advocated nonviolence in his campaigns against the segregation of Black people in the South: assassinated: Nobel Peace Prize 1964
- Stephen (Edwin). born 1947, US writer esp of horror novels; his books, many of which have been filmed, include Carrie (1974), The Shining (1977), Misery (1988), and Everything's Eventual (2002)
- William Lyon Mackenzie. 1874–1950, Canadian Liberal statesman; prime minister (1921–26; 1926–30; 1935–48)
Old English cyning "king, ruler," from Proto-Germanic *kuninggaz (cf. Dutch koning, Old Norse konungr, Danish konge, Old Saxon and Old High German kuning, Middle High German künic, German König). Possibly related to Old English cynn "family, race" (see kin), making a king originally a "leader of the people;" or from a related root suggesting "noble birth," making a king originally "one who descended from noble birth." The sociological and ideological implications render this a topic of much debate.
Finnish kuningas "king," Old Church Slavonic kunegu "prince" (Russian knyaz, Bohemian knez), Lithuanian kunigas "clergyman" are loans from Germanic.
As leon is the king of bestes. [John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1390]
In Old English, used for names of chiefs of Anglian and Saxon tribes or clans, then of the states they founded. Also extended to British and Danish chiefs they fought. The chess piece so called from early 15c.; the playing card from 1560s; use in checkers/draughts first recorded 1820. Applied in nature to species deemed remarkably big or dominant (e.g. king crab, 1690s). In marketing, king-size is from 1939, originally of cigarettes.
[I]t was [Eugene] Field who haunted the declining years of Creston Clarke with his review of that actor's Lear. ... Said he, "Mr. Clarke played the King all the evening as though under constant fear that someone else was about to play the Ace." ["Theatre Magazine," January 1922]
In addition to the idiom beginning with king
, also see
- live like a king