Definition of king in English:

king

noun

  • 1The male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.

    as title ‘King Henry VIII’
    • ‘The kings and rulers of this world are not necessarily happy men.’
    • ‘A period of consensus and stability followed the accession to the throne of the Tudor king Henry VII in 1495.’
    • ‘There was a breakdown of centralized government, with many kings having overlapping reigns.’
    • ‘At one time, traditional societies greatly recognised people born to their positions as chiefs, kings or emperors.’
    • ‘They had been introduced to most of the guests at the ball, the counts and countesses, princes and princesses, kings and queens.’
    • ‘They follow leaders - queens or kings, chiefs or emperors.’
    • ‘Children's stories are full of kings and queens, princesses and princes and that's where they belong - in fairy stories.’
    • ‘Only 30% favour having a king or queen who inherits the position for life.’
    • ‘A decade later, Carême had become the toast of Napoleonic and Regency Europe and a man whose early death was mourned by emperors, tsars and kings.’
    • ‘The throne of Egypt, although it passed through the female line in name, in reality passed through the first-born male heir of the king.’
    • ‘Whether forced or voluntary, Roman emperors, kings and queens, hereditary princes and grand dukes and, yes, even popes have abdicated.’
    • ‘Subsequently, Akbar assimilated cultural patterns from earlier rulers, including sultanate kings and Rajput rulers.’
    • ‘The most mystical of shades, purple has been preferred by kings, queens and emperors throughout history.’
    • ‘Those whose persona is royal are of course kings or queens, or princes or princesses of principalities.’
    • ‘That chair had always reminded me of a king's throne, and since my father usually sat in it, I used to like to pretend that he was the king, a position I would one day inherit.’
    • ‘Daydreams of living like a prince are one thing, but living in a house that has played host to kings, queens, shahs and high-ranking dignitaries is quite another.’
    • ‘At this time it was necessary for scientists to obtain patronage from their kings, princes or rulers.’
    • ‘From campfires of Mughal soldiers to the royal banquet tables of kings and emperors, the kebab has travelled a long way.’
    • ‘Just before eleven that night Sir Quinn stood before the king, queen, princess and the other members of the court.’
    • ‘Bahrain is a traditional monarchy in which the king is the chief of state.’
    ruler, sovereign, monarch, supreme ruler, crowned head, majesty, crown, head of state, royal personage, emperor, prince, potentate, overlord, liege lord, lord, leader, chief
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    1. 1.1 A person or thing regarded as the finest or most important in their sphere or group.
      ‘a country where football is king’
      ‘the king of rock’
      • ‘It is the first time in seven years that the kings of football have been dethroned.’
      • ‘All hail the new kings of American rock 'n' roll.’
      • ‘Elvis fans have a new shrine to their hero - a remote Scottish hamlet named this week as the ancestral home of the king of rock 'n' roll.’
      • ‘In previous years, teams like Galway and Kerry have lifted the cup prompting the commentators to predict an extended reign as the kings of football.’
      • ‘But this guy is the king of football writers, and a good example.’
      • ‘There is a definite Irish feeling to their sound, which draws on the kings of Irish rock and progressive trad, as well as more modern influences.’
      • ‘You may be too young to remember them but they used to be kings of rock 'n' roll.’
      • ‘The redneck king and the quintessential greenie at one.’
      • ‘The reception will be co-hosted by the king of fashion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When it comes to sports, Henry says football remains the king of beer promotional opportunities.’
      • ‘Titles such as Astral Traveller, Yesterday and Today and Perpetual Change hint at the king of prog rock's spiritual leanings.’
      • ‘Rangers showed great resolve at the end of a long season that contained many disappointments, so it was important that they remained kings of their own patch.’
      • ‘But he was as good a husband as the king of rock 'n' roll could be.’
      • ‘Moorefield are the kings of football in the town again after gaining revenge for last year's defeat to Sarsfields on Sunday.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The king of rock ‘n’ roll has returned to the top nearly 30 years after he was laid to rest.’
      • ‘Football is the king at nearly every college campus where it exists.’
      • ‘That victory signaled the start of a run in which Miami became the king of college football.’
      star, leading light, luminary, superstar, mogul, giant, master, kingpin, celebrity, lion
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2dated (in the UK) the national anthem when there is a male sovereign.
    3. 1.3attributive Used in names of animals and plants that are particularly large, e.g. king cobra.
      • ‘Recent studies have shown that marine fish such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel can also contain high levels of mercury.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He then films the snakes (mostly gopher and king snakes) as they crawl and feed.’
      • ‘While I was in the lake, little fishes would nibble softly on my toes, beside me slid a beautiful California king snake and a bird swooped down to his prey.’
      • ‘Pregnant women and women thinking of becoming pregnant should avoid eating swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish.’
  • 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.

    • ‘White is better developed with both minor pieces in play, centralized rooks and a castled king.’
    • ‘As the pawns fall, the bigger pieces must be wondering whether the time has not come for a daring attempt to checkmate the king before their turn comes to be knocked off the board.’
    • ‘The king is behind the pawn as in the earlier examples and this is a draw!’
    • ‘The Black pawn could only be stopped from queening by allowing a drawn king and pawn endgame.’
    • ‘That is the manoeuvrist approach in its purest form: it may be likened to checkmating an opponent's king in chess.’
    • ‘It is a rule of chess that we win the game by checkmating the king.’
    • ‘He showed me how to move the various kings, queens, and pawns across the exquisite little board.’
    • ‘The king can move in any direction, but only one square at a time.’
    • ‘Yet by touching the king first, the player might be obligated to move the king to another square if he can legally do so.’
    • ‘The object of the game is to checkmate your opponent's king.’
    • ‘I chose the equal of two evils and moved my king into inevitable checkmate.’
    • ‘Given that the black king, in chess, is sometimes allowed to move diagonally by one square, it follows that there are chess pieces that are sometimes allowed to move diagonally by one square.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Any human player, however, would have moved the king anyway, because there is the chance that an imperfect opponent might not have seen this mating sequence.’
    • ‘A couple of months later, he proved he was indeed the king of rapid chess when he won the World rapid championship at Cap d' Agde (France).’
    • ‘Sunis's rook and pawn prevented his king from escaping.’
    • ‘The holographic representation of his opponent looked smug as it calmly checkmated his king again.’
    • ‘These pages cover general themes, such as the strength of the king in the endgame, not hurrying, and the principle of two weaknesses.’
    • ‘Saaski moved his pawn to the final square and exchanged it for a queen, checkmating the king, who was hemmed in by his own defensive perimeter.’
    • ‘Cube was currently sweating with panic and moved his king to the square on its left to avoid check.’
    1. 2.1 A piece in draughts with extra capacity for moving, made by crowning an ordinary piece that has reached the opponent's baseline.
      • ‘The men move and take as at draughts, except that in capturing they move either forwards or backwards like a draught king.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2 A playing card bearing a representation of a king, normally ranking next below an ace.
      • ‘This is often very useful in cases when the declarer plays with short trumps and tries to make the contract with help of aces and kings in side suits.’
      • ‘You cannot now beat the king with your ace, because you have already passed.’
      • ‘Most tricks in game contracts are won by trumps or side suit kings.’
      • ‘The meld must have at least two cards of the same natural rank (any rank from four up to ace), such as two nines, three kings, four fives, etc.’
      • ‘In the event of two people holding cards of the same value (2 aces, 2 kings, etc.), they both start.’
      • ‘Now John needed an ace or a king to come up on one of the next two cards.’
      • ‘You should generally try to avoid playing aces, kings, queens and jacks except when capturing or building with them.’
      • ‘If there are any kings in the deal then no one is allowed to trade and whoever was dealt the lowest card loses a life.’
      • ‘Could he have a pair of kings in the hole, or perhaps the case ace?’
      • ‘Cards can turn the corner - for example on an ace you can play a two or a king.’
      • ‘Similarly, even if you pick up two kings or queens your quatorze is likely to be beaten by a quatorze of Aces.’
      • ‘Some hands can be played more aggressively when an opponent shows a king or ace, meaning they will likely be forced to act first throughout the hand.’
      • ‘Face cards count for ten except for the king, which counts for zero.’
      • ‘A king solo is allowed - similar to the queen and jack solos but with the four kings as trumps.’
      • ‘It is clear that cappotto is impossible because South has three trumps to the king.’
      • ‘The best possible hand is four aces, two kings, and a low card.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You place the ace one of your face down cards, the two kings on another and the two jacks on the third.’
      • ‘And if you happen to catch an ace or a king, that's likely to win the pot too.’
      • ‘This can only be bid by the dealer, and is only allowed if the dealer holds the ace, king and deuce of trumps.’

verb

  • 1archaic with object Make (someone) king.

    • ‘Macbeth was kinged after murdering.’
    • ‘For history lovers, Richard the Second was dethroned by Bolingbroke, who was kinged Henry The Fourth.’
  • 2king itdated no object Act in an unpleasantly superior and domineering way.

    ‘he'll start kinging it over the lot of us again’
    ‘science kings it over the realm of intellectual discourse’
    • ‘He kinged it in the coffee-house, then the fashionable place at which the wits gathered, as Jonson had in the tavern.’
    • ‘They found Tom kinging it over a realm of meat chunks.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • live like a king (or queen)

    • Live in great comfort and luxury.

      • ‘He met his French wife, Paula, during World War II and brought her home to America to live like a queen in the New York suburbs.’
      • ‘I had a balcony and a king-sized bed and I would be living like a queen for the next few weeks.’
      • ‘I'd rather live like a queen for a week and then like a pauper for the next three than live modestly for four.’
      • ‘He hasn't done a full days work since the 70s but still somehow manages to live like a king.’
      • ‘And, while Sam lives like a king in the kennels and is adored by the staff, Mr and Mrs Smith are worried he has become institutionalised.’
      • ‘I have just spent a few months travelling in South America where the cost of living was so low I could live like a king on €100 a day.’
      • ‘I had two fabulous days, living like a king, or at least a Tory MP.’
      • ‘The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.’
      • ‘It's one thing to go back home, not pay food or utilities or rent, and live like a king on your salary which is 100% discretionary income.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

king

/kɪŋ/