\ 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 Firelei Baez’s two big paintings of female figures from Dominican folklore flank it. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Utopian Imagination: Silly Clichés in a Beautiful Space," 2 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, the hill’s eastern and southern flanks are still lined with decrepit 1940s-era bunkers of public housing between patches of scruffy grass and concrete patios. Lauren Smiley, The Atlantic, "The Porch Pirate of Potrero Hill Can’t Believe It Came to This," 1 Nov. 2019 An outdoor shower flanks one side of the space and a hot tub on the other. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Zen area and cozy nooks bring indoor living outside in Gilbert home. Take a peek," 31 Oct. 2019 Firefighters’ biggest concern was the western flank of the fire, and the potential for gusts to push flames into Santa Rosa and other neighborhoods that have so far been spared. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Overnight battle: Cal Fire’s army of 4,900 vs. Kincade Fire and 70 mph winds," 29 Oct. 2019 Note: The marinade works best with New York strip steaks, top sirloin, flank or skirt steaks. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Best Steak Marinade," 28 Oct. 2019 Under Erdogan, Turkey is no longer the obedient NATO ally guarding the alliance's southern flank against Russian expansionism. Tim Lister, CNN, "No longer the obedient NATO ally, Erdogan floats nuclear option," 21 Oct. 2019 Ribéry was the star of Bayern's left flank for 12 years, and won the Bundesliga title an unbelievable nine times. SI.com, "The 20 Best Footballers of the Decade," 14 Oct. 2019 This pre-1980 view of Mount St. Helens shows the volcano's southeast flank and the headwaters of the Muddy River before the May 18th, 1980 eruption. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "8 of the World’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes, According to Experts," 6 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In addition, the Duchess of Sussex’s engagement ring is made up of three diamonds, with one large stone in the center flanked by two smaller stones on the sides. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Meghan Markle Included a Special Nod to Princess Diana During Her Clothing Launch!," 12 Sep. 2019 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

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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Statistics for flank

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for flank

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

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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

Comments on flank

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something of little or no value

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