Definition of king in English:

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Pronunciation: /kiNG/


1The male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth: [as title]: King Henry VIII
More example sentences
  • Subsequently, Akbar assimilated cultural patterns from earlier rulers, including sultanate kings and Rajput rulers.
  • At one time, traditional societies greatly recognised people born to their positions as chiefs, kings or emperors.
  • They follow leaders - queens or kings, chiefs or emperors.
ruler, sovereign, monarch, crowned head, Crown, emperor, prince, potentate, lord
1.1A person or thing regarded as the finest or most important in its sphere or group: a country where football is king the king of rock
More example sentences
  • And no matter how many duff albums they throw at us - three and a half, so far - we'll still genuflect before them, these kings of throwback rock.
  • They are together the kings of football forever.
  • On Sunday evening as the mist fell on Hyde Park, delirious supporters gave vent to their emotions as they cheered the new kings of Roscommon football.
star, leading light, luminary, superstar, giant, master
informal supremo, megastar
1.2 (the King) dated (In the UK) the national anthem when there is a male sovereign.
1.3 [attributive] Used in names of animals and plants that are particularly large, e.g., king cobra.
Example sentences
  • Recent studies have shown that marine fish such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel can also contain high levels of mercury.
  • He then films the snakes (mostly gopher and king snakes) as they crawl and feed.
  • Anglers can find brown trout here, but the Trinity is best known for king salmon and steelhead; king salmon runs peak from May through October.
2The most important chess piece, of which each player has one, which the opponent has to checkmate in order to win. The king can move in any direction, including diagonally, to any adjacent square that is not attacked by an opponent’s piece or pawn.
Example sentences
  • The first king to move must therefore step back from his pawn, leaving him no longer able to protect it (the rules of chess forbid the kings moving within one square of each other).
  • Yet by touching the king first, the player might be obligated to move the king to another square if he can legally do so.
  • That is the manoeuvrist approach in its purest form: it may be likened to checkmating an opponent's king in chess.
2.1A piece in the game of checkers with extra capacity for moving, made by crowning an ordinary piece that has reached the opponent’s baseline.
Example sentences
  • This rule, known as flying kings, is not used in English draughts, in which a king's only advantage over a man is the ability to move and capture backwards as well as forwards.
  • The men move and take as at draughts, except that in capturing they move either forwards or backwards like a draught king.
2.2A playing card bearing a representation of a king, normally ranking next below an ace.
Example sentences
  • You should generally try to avoid playing aces, kings, queens and jacks except when capturing or building with them.
  • Most of the things I threw in the circular file, but one thing that caught my attention, was a magnet that looked exactly like the king of hearts playing card.
  • Most tricks in game contracts are won by trumps or side suit kings.


[with object] archaic
1Make (someone) king.
Example sentences
  • For history lovers, Richard the Second was dethroned by Bolingbroke, who was kinged Henry The Fourth.
  • Macbeth was kinged after murdering.
1.1 (king it) dated Act in an unpleasantly superior and domineering manner: he kings it over the natives on his atoll
More example sentences
  • They found Tom kinging it over a realm of meat chunks.
  • He kinged it in the coffee-house, then the fashionable place at which the wits gathered, as Jonson had in the tavern.
  • I want to be a writer, to make my living at it, earn a crust doing something I love rather than cooler kinging it through to a clapped out retirement, stomach clenched in anger at every slap of the baseball in the mitt as I was serving my time.



a king's ransom

see ransom.

live like a king (or queen)

Live in great comfort and luxury.
Example sentences
  • Christine, who won the prize after entering her name into the Holiday for Life competition at a Shell service station, could use her AirMiles all at once by living like a queen in New York's posh Waldorf Astoria for a year.
  • The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.
  • I had two fabulous days, living like a king, or at least a Tory MP.



Pronunciation: /-ˌho͝od/
Example sentences
  • He took the true mantle of kinghood by forcing Asineth, now queen by her father's death, to marry him.
  • As Shakespeare wrote it, The Chronicle History of Henry the Fifth is an intensely masculine, simple, sanguine drama of kinghood and war.
  • Edmund meets the White Witch and ends up striking a deal with her - one that promises him kinghood only if he brings back the rest of his siblings back to her.


Example sentences
  • We don't want a kingless country for longer than necessary, do we?
  • In fact, once I'd gotten over the fact that I was now a prince living in a kingless land where every exile in the continent had been sent for centuries, I realized that I quite liked the Wilds.
  • Other countries feared doing business with a kingless kingdom.


Pronunciation: /ˈkiNGˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • But kings or kinglike peoples which rule themselves under laws of equality should not suffer the class of philosophers to disappear or to be silent, but should let them speak openly.
  • Bobby, a superstar in the Latin world and a kinglike figure in Venezuela, is handling an international scandal without much angst.


Old English cyning, cyng, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch koning and German König, also to kin.

  • The first kings in England were the chiefs of various tribes or ‘kins’ of Angles and Saxons who invaded the country and established their own small states ( see kind). To say that something expensive costs a king's ransom is to look back to feudal times, although the expression itself is not recorded before the 16th century. In the Middle Ages prisoners of war could be freed on payment of a ransom which varied according to the rank of the prisoner. A king would require a vast sum of money to be paid to secure his release.

Words that rhyme with king

Beijing, bing, bring, Chungking, cling, ding, dingaling, fling, I Ching, Kunming, ling, Ming, Nanjing, Peking, ping, ring, sing, Singh, sling, spring, sting, string, swing, Synge, thing, ting, wing, wring, Xining, zing

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: king

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