\ 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


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)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Marie Newman beat eight-term incumbent Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski in the primary on Tuesday, a win that ignited the Democratic Party’s left flank on a night when the progressives’ preferred candidate failed to regain momentum. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Marie Newman Defeats Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois Primary Challenge," 18 Mar. 2020 And while his proposals for a single-payer health care system, free public college and a Green New Deal put him firmly on the party’s left flank, polls show that a wide majority of Democratic voters support them. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Bernie Sanders Is on the Rise. But How High Can His Numbers Go?," 11 Mar. 2020 The wet valley floor is mown in the summer to provide hay for sheep in the winter months, when steep and rocky flanks of the valley are too cold and snowy for grazing. The Economist, "Hydrology Re-engineering Britain’s rivers," 5 Mar. 2020 Another factor in favor of the flank is a potential plan for China’s space agency to conduct a heliospheric mission of its own, proposed by Qiugang Zong of Peking University. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019 In truth, the diamond is a very fragile formation, particularly the way Stoke play it, any manager worth his money can see the midfield is stretched and the rear flanks are a significant weak point. . SI.com, "3 Problems Nathan Jones Must Solve to Save Stoke City From Championship Obscurity," 27 Aug. 2019 Seeing to the tank’s flanks and rear is particularly difficult, an often unnerving prospect because those are areas where a tank’s armor is thinnest. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The See-Through Tanks Are Coming," 28 Aug. 2018 Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are. Ernie Cowan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "House finches right at home raising family here," 17 May 2018 Rodriguez says: The swiss cheese flank was nice and crunchy. cleveland.com, "Brickyard Bar & Grill packs flavor into burgers at bar, restaurant," 26 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Brightly blooming flowerbeds, a trellis and a bistro table set for two flanked either side of the shed, which was cozily decorated by the staff of Seville’s Funky Junk boutique. cleveland, "Medina Home and Garden Show springs the season forward," 10 Mar. 2020 Halak honored Jaroslav Halak, flanked by his wife, Petra, and their two young children, Inna and Nathan, was feted before the game for playing in his 500th game Dec. 3 against Carolina. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has lineup decisions down the stretch," 25 Feb. 2020 The picture shows a man and woman kissing — flanked on either side by a row of the show’s handmaids — in front of a wall that the show’s fictional Gilead leaders use to hang dead bodies of dissenters. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "The Handmaid's Tale," 3 Oct. 2019 Pence, who briefed reporters in the White House briefing room for the second day running, flanked by health officials on his coronavirus task force, said some laboratories were only testing in more serious cases of illness. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Pence: New guidance will ensure anyone can be tested for coronavirus," 3 Mar. 2020 Several first-term Democrats in competitive seats flanked members of leadership during the press conference. WSJ, "House Democrats Outline $760 Billion Infrastructure Proposal," 30 Jan. 2020 The proceedings took less than 10 minutes as Hunter, flanked by his attorney, faced the judge. Roxana Popescu, Anchorage Daily News, "California Rep. Duncan Hunter pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds," 3 Dec. 2019 Laundry and coat closets flank the entrance hallway. Pamela Dittmer Mckuen, chicagotribune.com, "Apartment Hunt: Pet spa, private work-from-home suites, bicycle tuneup stations, The Marke of Elmhurst offers an array of amenities," 21 Nov. 2019 Guests flanked the canal banks as a barge glided past amid a smoke and light display with a singer warbling from the deck. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chloe gets chic as VIPs create fashion homage to Lagerfeld," 26 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.

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First Known Use of flank


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


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

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Time Traveler for flank

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flank

Last Updated

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flank. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for flank


How to pronounce flank (audio)

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



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

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


\ 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)


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.


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on flank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flank

Spanish Central: Translation of flank

Nglish: Translation of flank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flank for Arabic Speakers

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