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The white and black kings (chess)
A king piece in shogi. Sometimes just .

Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English king, kyng, from Old English cyng, cyning ‎(king), from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz, *kunungaz ‎(king), equivalent to kin +‎ -ing. Cognate with Scots king ‎(king), North Frisian köning ‎(king), West Frisian kening ‎(king), Dutch koning ‎(king), Low German Koning, Köning ‎(king), German König ‎(king), Danish konge ‎(king), Swedish konung, kung ‎(king), Icelandic konungur, kóngur ‎(king), Finnish kuningas ‎(king), Russian князь ‎(knjazʹ, prince), княги́ня ‎(knjagínja, princess).


king ‎(plural kings)

  1. A male monarch; a man who heads a monarchy. If it's an absolute monarchy, then he is the supreme ruler of his nation.
    Henry VIII was the king of England from 1509 to 1547.
  2. A powerful or influential person.
    Howard Stern styled himself as the "king of all media".
    • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter I”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
      "I wish we were back in Tenth Street. But so many children came [] and the Tenth Street house wasn't half big enough; and a dreadful speculative builder built this house and persuaded Austin to buy it. Oh, dear, and here we are among the rich and great; and the steel kings and copper kings and oil kings and their heirs and dauphins. []"
    • 2014 June 21, “Magician’s brain”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8892:
      The truth is that [Isaac] Newton was very much a product of his time. The colossus of science was not the first king of reason, Keynes wrote after reading Newton’s unpublished manuscripts. Instead “he was the last of the magicians”.
  3. Something that has a preeminent position.
    In times of financial panic, cash is king.
  4. A component of certain games.
    1. The principal chess piece, that players seek to threaten with unavoidable capture to result in a victory by checkmate. It is often the tallest piece, with a symbolic crown with a cross at the top.
    2. (card games) A playing card with the letter "K" and the image of a king on it, the thirteenth card in a given suit.
    3. A checker (a piece of checkers/draughts) that reached the farthest row forward, thus becoming crowned (either by turning it upside-down, or by stacking another checker on it) and gaining more freedom of movement.
  5. (Britain, slang) A king skin.
    Oi mate, have you got kings?
  6. A male dragonfly; a drake.
  7. A king-sized bed.
    • 2002, Scott W. Donkin, Gerard Meyer, Peak Performance: Body and Mind (page 119)
      Try asking for a king-size bed next time because kings are usually firmer.
Coordinate terms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]
Chess pieces in English · chess pieces, chessmen (see also: chess) (layout · text)
♚ ♛ ♜ ♝ ♞ ♟
king queen castle, rook bishop knight pawn
Playing cards in English · playing cards (layout · text)
40 Asso di picche.jpg 41 Due di picche.jpg 42 Tre di picche.jpg 43 Quattro di picche.jpg 44 Cinque di picche.jpg 45 Sei di picche.jpg 46 Sette di picche.jpg
ace deuce, two three four five six seven
47 Otto di picche.jpg 48 Nove di picche.jpg 49 Dieci di picche.jpg 50 J di picche.jpg 51 Q di picche.jpg 52 K di picche.jpg Jolly Nero.jpg
eight nine ten jack queen king joker
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


king ‎(third-person singular simple present kings, present participle kinging, simple past and past participle kinged)

  1. To crown king, to make (a person) king.
    • 1982, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, South Atlantic Review, Volume 47, page 16,
      The kinging of Macbeth is the business of the first part of the play [] .
    • 2008, William Shakespeare, A. R. Braunmuller (editor), Macbeth, Introduction, page 24,
      One narrative is the kinging and unkinging of Macbeth; the other narrative is the attack on Banquo's line and that line's eventual accession and supposed Jacobean survival through Malcolm's successful counter-attack on Macbeth.
  2. To rule over as king.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, The Life of Henry the Fifth, Act 2, Scene 4,
      And let us do it with no show of fear; / No, with no more than if we heard that England / Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance; / For, my good liege, she is so idly king’d, / Her sceptre so fantastically borne / By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth, / That fear attends her not.
  3. To perform the duties of a king.
    • 1918, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, The Railroad Trainman, Volume 35, page 675,
      He had to do all his kinging after supper, which left him no time for roystering with the nobility and certain others.
    • 2001, Chip R. Bell, Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning, page 6,
      Second, Mentor (the old man) combined the wisdom of experience with the sensitivity of a fawn in his attempts to convey kinging skills to young Telemachus.
  4. To assume or pretend preeminence (over); to lord it over.
    • 1917, Edna Ferber, Fanny Herself, page 32,
      The seating arrangement of the temple was the Almanach de Gotha of Congregation Emanu-el. Old Ben Reitman, patriarch among the Jewish settlers of Winnebago, who had come over an immigrant youth, and who now owned hundreds of rich farm acres, besides houses, mills and banks, kinged it from the front seat of the center section.
  5. To promote a piece of draughts/checkers that has traversed the board to the opposite side, that piece subsequently being permitted to move backwards as well as forwards.
    • 1957, Bertram Vivian Bowden (editor), Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines, page 302,
      If the machine does this, it will lose only one point, and as it is not looking far enough ahead, it cannot see that it has not prevented its opponent from kinging but only postponed the evil day.
    • 1986, Rick DeMarinis, The Burning Women of Far Cry, page 100,
      I was about to make a move that would corner a piece that she was trying to get kinged, but I slid my checker back [] .
  6. To dress and perform as a drag king.
    • 2008, Audrey Yue, King Victoria: Asian Drag Kings, Postcolonial Female Masculinity, and Hybrid Sexuality in Australia, in Fran Martin, Peter Jackson, Audrey Yue, Mark McLelland (editors), AsiaPacifQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities, page 266,
      Through the ex-centric diaspora, kinging in postcolonial Australia has become a site of critical hybridity where diasporic female masculinities have emerged through the contestations of "home" and "host" cultures.

Etymology 2[edit]


king ‎(plural kings)

  1. Alternative form of qing (Chinese musical instrument)


Most common English words before 1923: women · cried · general · #360: king · nature · answered · thousand




From Proto-Finnic *kenkä. Cognate with Finnish kenkä.


Phonetik.svg This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!


king ‎(genitive kinga, partitive kinga)

  1. shoe



Quote-alpha.png This entry needs quotations to illustrate usage. If you come across any interesting, durably archived quotes then please add them!



From Old Irish ceinn, cinn, genitive singular and nominative plural, respectively, of cenn ‎(head).


king m

  1. genitive singular of kione
  2. nominative plural of kione


Manx mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
king ching ging
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


  • 1 cenn” in Dictionary of the Irish Language, Royal Irish Academy, 1913–76.

Tok Pisin[edit]


From English king.



  1. king