king

In a monarchy, the male ruler is called the king. A king or queen rules until death, when the next in line — usually a son or daughter — inherits the throne.

You can also use the word king to describe someone who's very powerful or well-known, like the king of Scrabble competitions or the king of the auto industry. In chess, the king is the most important piece, the one protected by every other piece on the board. King shares an Old English root with kin, or "family."

Primary Meanings of king

1.
n
a male sovereign; ruler of a kingdom
2.
n
(chess) the weakest but the most important piece
3.
n
one of the four playing cards in a deck bearing the picture of a king
Full Definitions of king
1

n a male sovereign; ruler of a kingdom

Synonyms:
Rex, male monarch
Antonyms:
female monarch, queen, queen regnant
a female sovereign ruler
Examples:
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Messiah
the awaited king of the Jews; the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people
Ahab
according to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC)
Amenhotep IV
early ruler of Egypt who rejected the old gods and replaced them with sun worship (died in 1358 BC)
Alaric
king of the Visigoths who captured Rome in 410 (370-410)
Alfred the Great
king of Wessex; defeated the Vikings and encouraged writing in English (849-899)
Artaxerxes I
king of Persia who sanctioned the practice of Judaism in Jerusalem (?-424 BC)
Artaxerxes II
king of Persia who subdued numerous revolutions and made peace with Sparta (?-359 BC)
Ashurbanipal
king of Assyria who built a magnificent palace and library at Nineveh (668-627 BC)
Athelstan
the first Saxon ruler who extended his kingdom to include nearly all of England (895-939)
Scourge of the Gods
king of the Huns; the most successful barbarian invader of the Roman Empire (406-453)
Robert the Bruce
king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329; defeated the English army under Edward II at Bannockburn and gained recognition of Scottish independence (1274-1329)
Carl XVI Gustaf
king of Sweden since 1973 (born 1946)
Clovis I
king of the Franks who unified Gaul and established his capital at Paris and founded the Frankish monarchy; his name was rendered as Gallic `Louis' (466-511)
Croesus
last king of Lydia (died in 546 BC)
Cyrus the Elder
king of Persia and founder of the Persian Empire (circa 600-529 BC)
Darius the Great
king of Persia who expanded the Persian Empire and invaded Greece but was defeated at the battle of Marathon (550-486 BC)
Darius III
king of Persia who was defeated by Alexander the Great; his murder effectively ended the Persian Empire (died in 330 BC)
David
(Old Testament) the 2nd king of the Israelites; as a young shepherd he fought Goliath (a giant Philistine warrior) and killed him by hitting him in the head with a stone flung from a sling; he united Israel with Jerusalem as its capital; many of the Psalms are attributed to David (circa 1000-962 BC)
Edmund I
king of the English who succeeded Athelstan; he drove out the Danes and made peace with Scotland (921-946)
Edmund Ironside
king of the English who led resistance to Canute but was defeated and forced to divide the kingdom with Canute (980-1016)
Edward the Elder
king of Wessex whose military success against the Danes made it possible for his son Athelstan to become the first king of all England (870-924)
Edwin
king of Northumbria who was converted to Christianity (585-633)
Egbert
king of Wessex whose military victories made Wessex the most powerful kingdom in England (died in 839)
Ethelbert
Anglo-Saxon king of Kent who was converted to Christianity by Saint Augustine; codified English law (552-616)
Ethelred I
king of Wessex and Kent and elder brother of Alfred; Alfred joined Ethelred's battle against the invading Danes and succeeded him on his death (died in 871)
Ethelred the Unready
king of the English who succeeded to the throne after his half-brother Edward the Martyr was murdered; he struggled unsuccessfully against the invading Danes (969-1016)
Fahd ibn Abdel Aziz al-Saud
king of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005 (1923-2005)
Faisal ibn Abdel Aziz al-Saud
king of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975 (1906-1975)
Farouk I
king of Egypt who in 1952 was ousted by a military coup d'etat (1920-1965)
Ferdinand the Great
king of Castile and Leon who achieved control of the Moorish kings of Saragossa and Seville and Toledo (1016-1065)
Ferdinand the Catholic
the king of Castile and Aragon who ruled jointly with his wife Isabella; his marriage to Isabella I in 1469 marked the beginning of the modern state of Spain and their capture of Granada from the Moors in 1492 united Spain as one country; they instituted the Spanish Inquisition in 1478 and supported the expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1492 (1452-1516)
Frederick I
son of Frederick William who in 1701 became the first king of Prussia (1657-1713)
Frederick the Great
king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786; brought Prussia military prestige by winning the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War (1712-1786)
Frederick William I
son of Frederick I who became king of Prussia in 1713; reformed and strengthened the Prussian army (1688-1740)
Frederick William II
king of Prussia who became involved in a costly war with France (1744-1797)
Frederick William III
king of Prussia who became involved in the Napoleonic Wars (1770-1840)
Frederick William IV
king of Prussia who violently suppressed democratic movements (1795-1865)
Gaiseric
king of the Vandals who seized Roman lands and invaded North Africa and sacked Rome (428-477)
Gilgamesh
a legendary Sumerian king who was the hero of an epic collection of mythic stories
Gordius
legendary king of ancient Phrygia who was said to be responsible for the Gordian knot
Gustavus I
king of Sweden who established Lutheranism as the state religion (1496-1560)
Gustavus Adolphus
king of Sweden whose victories in battle made Sweden a European power; his domestic reforms made Sweden a modern state; in 1630 he intervened on the Protestant side of the Thirty Years' War and was killed in the battle of Lutzen (1594-1632)
Gustavus III
king of Sweden who increased the royal power and waged an unpopular war against Russia (1746-1792)
Gustavus IV
king of Sweden whose losses to Napoleon I led to his being deposed in 1809 (1778-1837)
Gustavus V
king of Sweden who kept Sweden neutral during both World War I and II (1858-1950)
Gustavus VI
the last king of Sweden to have any real political power (1882-1973)
Hammurabi
Babylonian king who codified the laws of Sumer and Mesopotamia (died 1750 BC)
Herod the Great
king of Judea who (according to the New Testament) tried to kill Jesus by ordering the death of all children under age two in Bethlehem (73-4 BC)
Hezekiah
(Old Testament) king of Judah who abolished idolatry (715-687 BC)
ibn Talal Hussein
king of Jordan credited with creating stability at home and seeking peace with Israel (1935-1999)
James IV
a Stuart king of Scotland who married a daughter of Henry VII; when England and France went to war in 1513 he invaded England and died in defeat at Flodden (1473-1513)
Jeroboam I
(Old Testament) first king of the northern kingdom of Israel who led Israel into sin (10th century BC)
Juan Carlos Victor Maria de Borbon y Borbon
king of Spain since 1975 (born in 1938)
Kamehameha the Great
Hawaiian king who united the islands under his rule (1758-1819)
Leonidas
king of Sparta and hero of the battle of Thermopylae where he was killed by the Persians (died in 480 BC)
Macbeth
king of Scotland (died in 1057)
Mithridates the Great
ancient king of Pontus who expanded his kingdom by defeating the Romans but was later driven out by Pompey (132-63 BC)
Nebuchadnezzar II
(Old Testament) king of Chaldea who captured and destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Israelites to Babylonia (630?-562 BC)
Saint Olaf
King and patron saint of Norway (995-1030)
Pepin the Short
king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne who defended papal interests and founded the Carolingian dynasty in 751 (714-768)
Philip II of Spain
king of Spain and Portugal and husband of Mary I; he supported the Counter Reformation and sent the Spanish Armada to invade England (1527-1598)
Philip II of Macedon
king of ancient Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great (382-336 BC)
Philip Augustus
son of Louis VII whose reign as king of France saw wars with the English that regained control of Normandy and Anjou and most of Poitou (1165-1223)
Philip V
king of ancient Macedonia whose confrontations with the Romans led to his defeat and his loss of control over Greece
Philip of Valois
king of France who founded the Valois dynasty; his dispute with Edward III over his succession led to the Hundred Years' War (1293-1350)
Ptolemy I
the king of Egypt who founded the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt; a close friend and general of Alexander the Great who took charge of Egypt after Alexander died (circa 367-285 BC)
Ptolemy II
son of Ptolemy I and king of Egypt who was said to be responsible for the Septuagint (circa 309-247 BC)
Pyrrhus
king of Epirus; defeated the Romans in two battles in spite of staggering losses (319-272 BC)
Ramesses
any of 12 kings of ancient Egypt between 1315 and 1090 BC
Saul
(Old Testament) the first king of the Israelites who defended Israel against many enemies (especially the Philistines)
Sennacherib
king of Assyria who invaded Judea twice and defeated Babylon and rebuilt Nineveh after it had been destroyed by Babylonians (died in 681 BC)
Solomon
(Old Testament) son of David and king of Israel noted for his wisdom (10th century BC)
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus
according to legend, the seventh and last Etruscan king of Rome who was expelled for his cruelty (reigned from 534 to 510 BC)
Victor Emanuel II
king of Italy who completed the unification of Italy by acquiring Venice and Rome (1820-1878)
Victor Emanuel III
king of Italy who appointed Mussolini prime minister; he abdicated in 1946 and the monarchy was abolished (1869-1947)
Xerxes the Great
king of Persia who led a vast army against Greece and won the battle of Thermopylae but was eventually defeated (519-465 BC)
Canute the Great
king of Denmark and Norway who forced Edmund II to divide England with him; on the death of Edmund II, Canute became king of all England (994-1035)
Hugh Capet
King of France elected in 987 and founding the Capetian dynasty (940-996)
Charles Stuart
son of James I who was King of England and Scotland and Ireland; was deposed and executed by Oliver Cromwell (1600-1649)
Charles II
King of England and Scotland and Ireland during the Restoration (1630-1685)
Charles the Bald
as Charles II he was Holy Roman Emperor and as Charles I he was king of France (823-877)
Charles VII
King of France who began his reign with most of northern France under English control; after the intervention of Jeanne d'Arc the French were able to defeat the English and end the Hundred Years' War (1403-1461)
Charles IX
King of France from 1560 to 1574 whose reign was dominated by his mother Catherine de Medicis (1550-1574)
Edgar
the younger brother of Edwy who became king of Northumbria when it renounced Edwy; on Edwy's death he succeeded to the throne of England (944-975)
Edward I
King of England from 1272 to 1307; conquered Wales (1239-1307)
Edward II
King of England from 1307 to 1327 and son of Edward I; was defeated at Bannockburn by the Scots led by Robert the Bruce; was deposed and died in prison (1284-1327)
Edward III
son of Edward II and King of England from 1327-1377; his claim to the French throne provoked the Hundred Years' War; his reign was marked by an epidemic of the Black Plague and by the emergence of the House of Commons as the powerful arm of British Parliament (1312-1377)
Edward IV
King of England from 1461 to 1470 and from 1471 to 1483; was dethroned in 1470 but regained the throne in 1471 by his victory at the battle of Tewkesbury (1442-1483)
Edward V
King of England who was crowned at the age of 13 on the death of his father Edward IV but was immediately confined to the Tower of London where he and his younger brother were murdered (1470-1483)
Edward VI
King of England and Ireland from 1547 to 1553; son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour; died of tuberculosis (1537-1553)
Albert Edward
King of England from 1901 to 1910; son of Victoria and Prince Albert; famous for his elegant sporting ways (1841-1910)
Duke of Windsor
King of England and Ireland in 1936; his marriage to Wallis Warfield Simpson created a constitutional crisis leading to his abdication (1894-1972)
Saint Edward the Confessor
son of Ethelred the Unready; King of England from 1042 to 1066; he founded Westminster Abbey where he was eventually buried (1003-1066)
Saint Edward the Martyr
King of England who was a son of Edgar; he was challenged for the throne by supporters of his half-brother Ethelred II who eventually murdered him (963-978)
Eadwig
King of England who was renounced by Northumbria in favor of his brother Edgar (died in 959)
George I
Elector of Hanover and the first Hanoverian King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1727 (1660-1727)
George II
King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover from 1727 to 1760 (1683-1760)
George III
King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1820; the American colonies were lost during his reign; he became insane in 1811 and his son (later George IV) acted as regent until 1820 (1738-1820)
George IV
King of Great Britain and Ireland and Hanover from 1820 to 1830; his attempt to divorce his estranged wife undermined the prestige of the Crown (1762-1830)
George V
King of Great Britain and Ireland and emperor of India from 1910 to 1936; gave up his German title in 1917 during World War I (1865-1936)
George VI
King of Great Britain and Ireland and emperor of India from 1936 to 1947; he succeeded Edward VIII (1895-1952)
Harold Harefoot
illegitimate son of Canute who seized the throne of England in 1037 (died in 1040)
King Harold II
King of England who succeeded Edward the Confessor in 1066 and was the last of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs; he was killed fighting the invasion by William the Conqueror (1045-1066)
Henry Beauclerc
King of England from 1100 to 1135; youngest son of William the Conqueror; conquered Normandy in 1106 (1068-1135)
Henry II
first Plantagenet King of England; instituted judicial and financial reforms; quarreled with archbishop Becket concerning the authority of the Crown over the church (1133-1189)
Henry II
king of France from 1547 to 1559; regained Calais from the English; husband of Catherine de Medicis and father of Charles IX (1519-1559)
Henry III
son of King John and king of England from 1216 to 1272; his incompetence aroused baronial opposition led by Simon de Montfort (1207-1272)
Henry III
son of Henry II of France and the last Valois to be king of France (1551-1589)
Henry Bolingbroke
the first Lancastrian king of England from 1399 to 1413; deposed Richard II and suppressed rebellions (1367-1413)
Henry IV
King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor (1050-1106)
Henry of Navarre
king of France from 1589 to 1610; although he was leader of the Huguenot armies, when he succeeded the Catholic Henry III and founded the Bourbon dynasty in 1589 he established religious freedom in France;
Henry V
son of Henry IV and King of England from 1413 to 1422; reopened the Hundred Years' War and defeated the French at Agincourt (1387-1422)
Henry VI
son of Henry V who as an infant succeeded his father and was King of England from 1422 to 1461; he was taken prisoner in 1460 and Edward IV was proclaimed king; he was rescued and regained the throne in 1470 but was recaptured and murdered in the Tower of London (1421-1471)
Henry Tudor
first Tudor king of England from 1485 to 1509; head of the house of Lancaster in the War of the Roses; defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field and was proclaimed king; married the daughter of Edward IV and so united the houses of York and Lancaster (1457-1509)
Henry VII
King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor (1275-1313)
Henry VIII
son of Henry VII and King of England from 1509 to 1547; his divorce from Catherine of Aragon resulted in his break with the Catholic Church in 1534 and his excommunication 1538, leading to the start of the Reformation in England (1491-1547)
King James I
the first Stuart to be king of England and Ireland from 1603 to 1625 and king of Scotland from 1567 to 1625; he was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and he succeeded Elizabeth I; he alienated the British Parliament by claiming the divine right of kings (1566-1625)
James II
the last Stuart to be king of England and Ireland and Scotland; overthrown in 1688 (1633-1701)
John Lackland
youngest son of Henry II; King of England from 1199 to 1216; succeeded to the throne on the death of his brother Richard I; lost his French possessions; in 1215 John was compelled by the barons to sign the Magna Carta (1167-1216)
Louis the Pious
third son of Charlemagne and king of France and Germany and Holy Roman Emperor (778-840)
Louis the Stammerer
king of France and Germany (846-879)
Louis III
son of Louis II and king of the France and Germany (863-882)
Louis d'Outremer
king of France (921-954)
Louis le Faineant
the last Carolingian king of France (967-987)
Louis the Wideawake
king of France whose military victories consolidated his reign (1081-1137)
Louis VII
king of France who led the unsuccessful Second Crusade and fought frequent wars with Henry II of England (1120-1180)
Louis VIII
king of France who increased the power of the Crown over the feudal lords (1187-1226)
Saint Louis
king of France and son of Louis VIII; he led two unsuccessful Crusades; considered an ideal medieval king (1214-1270)
Louis the Quarreller
king of France (1289-1316)
Louis XI
king of France who put down an alliance of unruly nobles and unified France except for Brittany (1423-1483)
Louis XII
king of France who was popular with his subjects (1462-1515)
Louis XIII
king of France from 1610 to 1643 who relied heavily on the advice of Cardinal Richelieu (1601-1643)
Louis the Great
king of France from 1643 to 1715; his long reign was marked by the expansion of French influence in Europe and by the magnificence of his court and the Palace of Versailles (1638-1715)
Louis XV
grandson of Louis XIV and king of France from 1715 to 1774 who led France into the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War (1710-1774)
Louis XVI
king of France from 1774 to 1792; his failure to grant reforms led to the French Revolution; he and his queen (Marie Antoinette) were guillotined (1754-1793)
Otto the Great
King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor (912-973)
Richard the Lion-Hearted
son of Henry II and King of England from 1189 to 1199; a leader of the Third Crusade; on his way home from the crusade he was captured and held prisoner in the Holy Roman Empire until England ransomed him in 1194 (1157-1199)
Richard II
King of England from 1377 to 1399; he suppressed the Peasant's Revolt in 1381 but his reign was marked by popular discontent and baronial opposition in British Parliament and he was forced to abdicate in 1399 (1367-1400)
Richard III
King of England from 1483 to 1485; seized the throne from his nephew Edward V who was confined to the Tower of London and murdered; his reign ended when he was defeated by Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) at the battle of Bosworth Field (1452-1485)
William the Conqueror
duke of Normandy who led the Norman invasion of England and became the first Norman to be King of England; he defeated Harold II at the battle of Hastings in 1066 and introduced many Norman customs into England (1027-1087)
William Rufus
the second son of William the Conqueror who succeeded him as King of England (1056-1100)
William of Orange
King of England and Scotland and Ireland; he married the daughter of James II and was invited by opponents of James II to invade England; when James fled, William III and Mary II were declared joint monarchs (1650-1702)
Sailor King
King of England and Ireland; son of George III who ascended the throne after a long naval career (1765-1837)
Types:
King of England, King of Great Britain
the sovereign ruler of England
King of France
the sovereign ruler of France
King of the Germans
the sovereign ruler of the Germans
Type of:
crowned head, monarch, sovereign
a nation's ruler or head of state usually by hereditary right

n a very wealthy or powerful businessman

Synonyms:
baron, big businessman, business leader, magnate, mogul, power, top executive, tycoon
Types:
oil tycoon
a powerful person in the oil business
Type of:
businessman, man of affairs
a person engaged in commercial or industrial business (especially an owner or executive)

n preeminence in a particular category or group or field

“the lion is the king of beasts”
Type of:
distinction, eminence, note, preeminence
high status importance owing to marked superiority

n a competitor who holds a preeminent position

Synonyms:
queen, world-beater
Type of:
challenger, competition, competitor, contender, rival
the contestant you hope to defeat
2

n (chess) the weakest but the most important piece

Type of:
chess piece, chessman
any of 16 white and 16 black pieces used in playing the game of chess

n a checker that has been moved to the opponent's first row where it is promoted to a piece that is free to move either forward or backward

Type of:
checker, chequer
one of the flat round pieces used in playing the game of checkers
3

n one of the four playing cards in a deck bearing the picture of a king

Type of:
court card, face card, picture card
one of the twelve cards in a deck bearing a picture of a face

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