or lynch·pin

[ linch-pin ]
/ ˈlɪntʃˌpɪn /


a pin inserted through the end of an axletree to keep the wheel on.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for linchpin

British Dictionary definitions for linchpin



/ (ˈlɪntʃˌpɪn) /


a pin placed transversely through an axle to keep a wheel in position
a person or thing regarded as an essential or coordinating elementthe linchpin of the company

Word Origin for linchpin

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 linchpin



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