\ 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 Its activists could shout down members of Congress at town halls and scare establishment Republicans with the threat of a primary challenge from the right flank. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: Capitol riot culminated 12 years of Tea Party resentment," 7 Jan. 2021 In criticizing the virus relief package, Trump appeared to be bending toward the right flank of his party that has been critical of the package and also supportive of his efforts to undermine the election. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "Trump imperils bipartisan stimulus deal with last minute demand for bigger checks," 23 Dec. 2020 For the first time in its history, Fox is facing serious competition from its right flank. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Fox News Is in Trouble," 10 Dec. 2020 For adventurers the world over, Mount Everest is an unforgettable sight—a regal plume of snow blows off its summit ridge as ice trails down its flank. National Geographic, "Microplastics found near Everest’s peak, highest ever detected in the world," 20 Nov. 2020 But now that House Democrats are weakened and Senate centrists empowered in a close-to-even upper chamber, Biden will have more decision-making power relative to his left flank than previously thought. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden's moment of truth," 12 Nov. 2020 But just as progressives will push Biden not to cave, McConnell faces similar pressure from his right flank. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell are friends who have brokered deals in the Senate: Can they still work together?," 10 Nov. 2020 On the left flank was the coronavirus, whose spike proteins would be delighted to hitch a ride on your popcorn. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Movies That Mattered in 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 The chief has been at odds with the left flank of the D.C. Council who have criticized his handling of demonstrations and spending. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham leaving for job in Virginia," 25 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tropical storm warnings flank the hurricane warning, covering areas along Nicaragua’s north central coast and the southern coast of Honduras. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Hurricane Iota, most powerful storm of 2020, aims for Nicaragua at Category 5 intensity," 16 Nov. 2020 She and Pan search around, noticing images of angels all over that mirror the ones that flank the enormous tower at the center of the city. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "His Dark Materials premiere recap: Lyra discovers the secrets of a new world," 17 Nov. 2020 The premium Audi brand will flank its e-Tron SUV with sportback and higher-performance GT versions. Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg.com, "VW Won’t Flinch From Colossal Budget for Cutting-Edge Cars," 13 Nov. 2020 The championship caps what arguably is the greatest era in Dodgers history, with eight straight division titles to flank that trophy. Los Angeles Times, "Justin Turner’s quiet leadership shines during the strangest of championship seasons," 27 Oct. 2020 In the next room, two Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange flank the viewer on opposite walls. Benjamin Lima, Dallas News, "‘Keep on keeping on’: At Dallas Biennial, five artists take the long view of resistance and struggle," 6 Nov. 2020 Four lookout towers flank the property, containing radio equipment as well. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "Survivalist community activates 'collapse' mode amid fear of unrest following Election Day," 30 Oct. 2020 Deep pantry-style drawers with spices, oils, and everyday tools flank the range, making dinner prep a breeze. House Beautiful, "This Peacock Blue Kitchen Packs a Culinary Punch," 14 Oct. 2020 Dylan Powell would appear to be a favorite to flank Crider, while redshirt senior Mackenzie Nworah, who started multiple games in 2019, could play on the other side. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "Harry Crider and IU football's offensive line settling into new roles," 2 Oct. 2020

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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flank. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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