from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off.
  • n. A central cohesive element: Reduced spending is the linchpin of their economic program.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a pin inserted through holes at the end of an axle, so as to secure a wheel
  • n. a central cohesive source of stability and security; a person or thing that is critical to a system or organisation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pin used to prevent the wheel of a vehicle from sliding off the axletree.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A pin inserted in the spindle of the axle of a vehicle to prevent the wheel from slipping off. Also axle-pin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pin inserted through an axletree to hold a wheel on
  • n. a central cohesive source of support and stability


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English linspin : lins, linchpin (from Old English lynis) + pin, pin (from Old English pinn; see pin).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English lynspin, compound of lins 'axletree' and pin, from Old English lynis 'linchpin', from Proto-Germanic *luniso (compare German Lünse), from Proto-Indo-European (compare Welsh olwyn 'wheel', Armenian ołn 'shoulder', Sanskrit āṇís). Figurative use attested from the mid-20th century.


  • Times have now changed, Schumer said, and passing a bill is possible by separating illegal from legal immigrants with what he calls the linchpin: a biometric Social Security card that includes digital records of personal characteristics.


  • More to the point, it would have to survive without McShane as Silas, continue to function dramatically even after the Saul counterpart dies and its linchpin is gone — which seems, at the moment, inconceivable.

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  • Outlook: The reigning Class AA State Federation champions may run three guards but their linchpin is 6-0 Mike Coburn (16.5 ppg, 6 apg).

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  • Maintaining the impossibly high standards set by previous releases from the Bug and soon to be legendary Burial, label linchpin Kode 9 reverts to the format reserved for his own alchemical productions.

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  • Their alleged aim is to provoke confrontations to split the people and the army, which the council calls the linchpin of the nation's safety and security.

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  • McChrystal's departure played out against a faltering campaign in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, rising U.S. and NATO casualties on the battlefield, and delays in a Kandahar offensive that has been described as the linchpin to the war effort.

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  • Hudson ruled that the so-called linchpin of the law -- the requirement that most Americans obtain insurance -- exceeds the authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause.

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  • The linchpin was their ability to personify and appeal to a great yearning in the souls of the American people in a time of crisis and use that yearning to affect change.

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  • Of course, the US wouldn't be accused of double-speak if it hadn't made a Dadaist term the linchpin of its anti-terrorist programme.

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  • "We are hoping to use his experience," said Mr. Terbil, who some called the linchpin of the revolt.

    NYT > Home Page


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