linchpin

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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), Old Armenian ողն (ołn, back; spine, backbone), Sanskrit आणि (āṇí, linchpin)). Figurative use attested from the mid-20th century.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

linchpin (plural linchpins)

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

Translations[edit]