Ringleader is a closed compound word. We will examine the meaning of the word ringleader, where it came from and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

A ringleader is someone who is an instigator, someone who stirs up trouble. A ringleader may incite others to riot or to commit an illegal activity. A ringleader is a troublemaker. When a teacher is confronted with unruly children, she often looks for the ringleader. When a member of law enforcement investigates a crime, he will look for the ringleader. The word ringleader is derived from the word ring and the word leader, and first appears in the 1300s. At that time, the word ringleader meant a person who leads a ring dance. Within one hundred years, the expression ringleader came to mean an instigator or someone who stirs up trouble. The plural form is ringleaders.


The couple authorities pegged as ringleaders in the ongoing $50 million health benefits fraud case are slated to appear in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon. (The Press of Atlantic City)

A women’s advocacy group accused former Vice President Joe Biden of being the “ringleader of a hostile and sexist hearing” after he expressed regret about how he handled the case involving Anita Hill, and warned it will likely follow him into his potential 2020 presidential bid. (Newsweek Magazine)

Federal agents who testified Tuesday denied threatening an accused fentanyl ringleader’s family during an interview in Panama so he would confess to charges related to a Grand Forks man’s overdose death. (The Bismarck Tribune)

A vegan activist accused of being the ringleader behind the theft of a $1500 calf and a dead piglet from West Australian farms is likely to spend at least one night in prison until his bail paperwork is completed. (The Daily Mail)

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