flank

noun
\ ˈflaŋk How to pronounce flank (audio) \

Definition of flank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the fleshy part of the side between the ribs and the hip broadly : the side of a quadruped She gently patted the horse's flank.
b : a cut of meat from this part of an animal — see beef illustration
2a : side the eastern flank of a volcano
b : the right or left of a formation attacked the enemy on both flanks
3 : the area along either side of a heraldic shield

flank

verb
flanked; flanking; flanks

Definition of flank (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to be situated at the side of especially : to be situated on both sides of a road flanked with linden trees
b : to place something on each side of
2 : to protect a flank of
3 : to attack or threaten the flank of (as a body of troops)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of flank in a Sentence

Noun

She gently patted the horse's flank. They attacked the enemy on both flanks. the eastern flank of a volcano

Verb

the guards flank the center on a football team's offensive line
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Time and again, City's pace on the flanks caused West Ham problems and, in particular, Kyle Walker getting behind Aaron Cresswell. SI.com, "Mark Noble: Why the West Ham Captain Is Still Key to Hammers Success," 11 Sep. 2019 Determined to avoid such a tragedy, Dr. Moran and his colleagues proposed installing new instruments on the flanks of Mount Hood in 2014. Shannon Hall, New York Times, "We’re Barely Listening to the U.S.’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes," 9 Sep. 2019 Martinez attacked from the midfield then passed the ball ahead to Elis on the flank. Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo end three-game skid with home win over Red Bulls," 4 July 2019 The Seattle Sounders star bundled home the USA’s only goal with his chest, and was active all evening on the left flank, stretching the Uruguayans and providing a valuable and threatening outlet. Brian Straus, SI.com, "For USMNT, Two Very Different Friendlies With One Set of Prevalent Themes," 11 Sep. 2019 But with the tighter areas on the flanks, wingers such as Cristian Penilla and Diego Fagundez, and even midfield playmaker Carles Gil, will need to be better on the ball in smaller spaces. Dan Shulman, BostonGlobe.com, "Revolution’s keys to victory against NYCFC," 6 Sep. 2019 Otherwise, the rolling hillsides have served as a stark but scenic backdrop along Concord’s eastern flank, part of the topographical ascent to Mount Diablo, the Bay Area’s highest peak. John King, SFChronicle.com, "Concord weapons station has fraught history, but development concept has promise," 3 Sep. 2019 As the video begins, Armstrong could see the aim point was on the rocky northeastern flank of West crater (190 meters [623 feet] diameter), causing him to take manual control and fly horizontally, searching for a safe landing spot. Fox News, "Apollo 11: What Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin saw during dramatic Moon landing," 19 July 2019 This attitude will put her in conflict with some member states, in particular in Europe’s eastern and southern flanks, which see Brussels as an intrusive foreign power challenging their sovereignty. New York Times, "First Woman Chosen for Top E.U. Job Wins Confirmation," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Once their time is expended, the relevant app icons darken on the home screen, the sad hourglass flanking the app name. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "I Tried to Limit My Screen Time," 5 Sep. 2019 The same building hosts stalls for the state’s Republican and Democratic parties, which flank opposite sides of the entrance. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "A Pageantry of Anti-Trumpism at the Iowa State Fair," 14 Aug. 2019 Check out those giant flocks of feathers flanking both of her arms. refinery29.com, "Selena Gomez's Sun Hat Is The Perfect Summer Accessory," 25 July 2019 Kentucky’s John Calipari saw Christopher twice, flanked by two assistants each time. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Juwan Howard has attention of top prospects. Here's his challenge," 14 July 2019 The Depot at Nickel Plate and The Flats at Switch, two luxury apartment buildings constructed in 2014, flank the Municipal Complex on 116th. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Fishers is planning for another big development downtown," 19 June 2019 This spring, state records show, Harbor of Hope spent at least $10,000 to hire two experienced lobbyists, who flanked Williams during testimony at a recent House committee hearing. oregonlive.com, "Lawmakers back rental tax break in last day of Legislature. Why are they behind a Portland developer’s idea?," 15 June 2019 Created with Francisca Coelho, former NYBG vice president of glasshouses and exhibitions, the garden contains two concrete-block fountains flanking a rainforest’s worth of plants, including many collected by and named for Burle Marx. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "The exuberant career of the Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx brings the oft-overlooked field of landscape architecture to the foreground," 11 June 2019 But to get to a general election face-off with Trump, Biden will have to overcome the two progressive senators, Warren and Sanders, who flanked him on the stage. BostonGlobe.com, "And Biden, 76, even gained some sympathy after a roundly criticized attack by Julián Castro that questioned the former vice president’s memory.," 14 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flank.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of flank

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flank

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old French flanc, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German hlanca loin, flank — more at lank

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flank

Statistics for flank

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flank

The first known use of flank was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flank

flank

noun

English Language Learners Definition of flank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the area on the side of an animal (such as a horse) between the ribs and the hip
: the right or left side of a military formation
: the side of something

flank

verb

English Language Learners Definition of flank (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be located on both sides of (something or someone)

flank

noun
\ ˈflaŋk How to pronounce flank (audio) \

Kids Definition of flank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the area on the side of an animal between the ribs and the hip
2 : side entry 1 sense 3 the mountain's flank
3 : the right or left side of a formation (as of soldiers)

flank

verb
flanked; flanking

Kids Definition of flank (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be located at the side of With two rats flanking him, the Father Abbot stepped forward …— Brian Jacques, Redwall
2 : to attack or threaten the side of We've flanked the enemy troops.

flank

noun
\ ˈflaŋk How to pronounce flank (audio) \

Medical Definition of flank

: the fleshy part of the side between the ribs and the hip broadly : the side of a quadruped

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on flank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flank

Spanish Central: Translation of flank

Nglish: Translation of flank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flank for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flank

What made you want to look up flank? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!