gan·​gly | \ ˈgaŋ-glē How to pronounce gangly (audio) \
ganglier; gangliest

Definition of gangly

1a : tall and thin and moving with a loose-jointed awkwardness : lanky, gangling It is a cool night in San Jose, and gangly teenagers stream toward the Gunderson gym.— Chris Ballard
b : long and thin His linen suit was appropriately rumpled … and his gangly legs were jacked up against the glove box, as he resisted suggestions to slide his seat back.— Cara Buckley
2 of a plant : having a tall and sparse appearance : lacking fullness These tall (to 8 feet), sometimes gangly shrubs bear cup-shaped, strong-scented flowers.— Michael MacCaskey

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Examples of gangly in a Sentence

a gangly teenager who was born to play varsity basketball
Recent Examples on the Web Cryptocurrencies are in their awkward, gangly teenager phase—easily influenced and, sometimes, easily bullied. Gregory Barber, Wired, 17 May 2021 Now a gangly, graying 65-year-old, he was known at Sullivan as the Old God. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2021 Plus, seeing my daughter swim again, her gangly arms slicing through the water, was a warm spring breeze. Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2021 There’s still a bit of newborn fawn to the gangly forward’s offensive game, but Jones is an eager sponge with tantalizing size and enough raw potential to land as a lottery pick. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 24 Mar. 2021 That hashtag war puts Teddy Sullivan at loggerheads with Tane Lagerhead, a gangly misfit who is coming into his own and rallying the seventh grade to #TeamTane. Cynthia Dickison, Star Tribune, 12 Mar. 2021 For a Drake team that relies on getting to the basket, scoring nearly 59% of its points inside the arc, the gangly freshman’s imposing presence on defense could be the real difference maker. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2021 Wingo, a high-jumping forward who stood a gangly 6-foot-6, never became a museum exhibit. New York Times, 26 Jan. 2021 Then came the first safer-at-home order, which meant sheltering in a cramped home with my gangly teenage son, work-at-home husband, two lovable, clumsy pit bulls and one prickly, harder-to-love cat. Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gangly.' 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 gangly

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gangly

probably from gangl(ing) + -y entry 1

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Statistics for gangly

Last Updated

25 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gangly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for gangly



English Language Learners Definition of gangly

: tall, thin, and awkward
: long and thin


gan·​gly | \ ˈgaŋ-glē How to pronounce gangly (audio) \
ganglier; gangliest

Kids Definition of gangly

: tall, thin, and awkward a gangly teenager

More from Merriam-Webster on gangly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gangly

Nglish: Translation of gangly for Spanish Speakers


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