1. A chief ruler; a sovereign; one invested with supreme authority over a nation, country, or tribe, usually by hereditary succession; a monarch; a prince. "Ay, every inch a king." "Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle." (Burke) "There was a State without king or nobles." (R. Choate) "But yonder comes the powerful King of Day, Rejoicing in the east" (Thomson)
King is often used adjectively, or in combination, to denote preeminence or superiority in some particular; as, kingbird; king crow; king vulture. Apostolic king.See Apostolic. King-at-arms, or King-of-arms, the chief heraldic officer of a country. In England the king-at-arms was formerly of great authority. His business is to direct the heralds, preside at their chapters, and have the jurisdiction of armory. There are three principal kings-at-arms, viz, Garter, Clarencieux, and Norroy. The latter (literally north roy or north king) officiates north of the Trent. King auk, a large species of vulture (Sarcorhamphus papa), ranging from Mexico to Paraguay, The general colour is white. The wings and tail are black, and the naked carunculated head and the neck are briliantly coloured with scarlet, yellow, orange, and blue. So called because it drives away other vultures while feeding. King wood, a wood from Brazil, called also violet wood, beautifully streaked in violet tints, used in turning and small cabinetwork. The tree is probably a species of Dalbergia. See Jacaranda.
Origin: AS. Cyng, cyning; akin to OS. Kining, D. Koning, OHG. Kining, G. Konig, Icel. Konungr, Sw. Koning, OHG. Kuning, Dan. Konge; formed with a patronymic ending, and fr. The root of E. Kin; cf. Icel. Konr a man of noble birth. See Kin.
(01 Mar 1998)
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