WHO SAID IT: A QUIZ ON PRESIDENTIAL WIT AND WISDOM
Words nearby lynchpin
What does lynchpin mean?
Lynchpin is an alternate spelling of linchpin—the person or thing that serves as the essential element in a complicated or delicate system or structure (the one that holds everything together).
This sense of the word is based on its original, literal meaning: an actual pin used to attach a wheel to the axle of a carriage or wagon to keep the wheel from falling off. It’s a good metaphor: a lynchpin is someone or something that keeps the wheels from falling off of an operation—they keep the whole thing working.
Lynchpin is not related to the verb lynch. It is much less commonly used than linchpin.
Example: Their point guard wasn’t their main scorer, but she was the lynchpin to the team’s success, and they started to lose a lot of games after she was injured.
Where does lynchpin come from?
The first records of the word linchpin come from the 1300s. The spelling variant lynchpin may be based on the fact that the word comes from an alteration of the Middle English word lynspin. This word came from a combination of the Old English lynis (the name for an axle pin) and the word pin (which accurately describes both the shape and function of the object). Its metaphorical use wasn’t recorded until much later.
A literal lynchpin may not be big, but without it, the wheel—and therefore the entire carriage—becomes useless. Similarly, a lynchpin of a company or other organization is someone whose work is crucial to the work of everyone else. If they were to leave or quit, everything would fall apart. (The word kingpin is used in a similar way to refer to the most crucial or important part of something, or the chief of an organization, but a lynchpin in a company isn’t necessarily the boss.)
A lynchpin isn’t always a person. It can be a group, institution, or any fundamental element of something. For example, the middle class is often called the lynchpin of the economy. A lynchpin in this sense is a lot like that one Jenga block that keeps the whole tower standing—pull it out and everything comes tumbling down.
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What are some other forms related to lynchpin?
- linchpin (primary spelling)
What are some synonyms for lynchpin?
What are some words that share a root or word element with lynchpin?
What are some words that often get used in discussing lynchpin?
How is lynchpin used in real life?
Lynchpin is much less common than linchpin. People often use the terms in observations about what they consider to be the most important element of an organization or structure, especially when it has collapsed or failed after that element was removed or weakened in some way.
Coco is both an extremely minor character and the lynchpin of the movie. Naming the movie after her makes sure you know she's significant before you even know why. The entire movie is a meta-mystery story about why it's titled "Coco."
— Todd in the Shadows (@ShadowTodd) July 21, 2020
More on this from @benthompson today:
— Rishi Iyengar (@Iyengarish) July 21, 2020
Geoffrey Kondogbia vs Sergio Busquets: Ahead of the top of the table clash in La Liga, it's Kondogbia who comes out on top in the battle of the two midfield lynchpins pic.twitter.com/GleU2xtQuO
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 26, 2017
Try using lynchpin!
Is lynchpin used correctly in the following sentence?
Having him as the spokesperson is the lynchpin of the ad campaign—without him, it simply won’t work.
Example sentences from the Web for lynchpin
And it is the actions of the freedom fighters within the country that will prove to be the lynchpin in the conflict.Former East Timor President José Ramos-Horta’s Advice For Syrian Rebels|José Ramos-Horta|July 17, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Saudi Arabia is the lynchpin,” says Edelman, “the key country.