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

Examples of gangly in a Sentence

a gangly teenager who was born to play varsity basketball
Recent Examples on the Web So named for his gangly appearance by teammates at Miami, the Hall of Fame linebacker spent one all-pro season with the Packers in 1974. Journal Sentinel, 27 Jan. 2024 Eventually, the group’s number is reduced to one: a gangly, smart-mouthed junior named Angus Tully, played by newcomer Dominic Sessa in an exceptionally impressive debut. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 The gangly wood stork, with its long legs and bald head, is none of those. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2023 In ostriches — which weigh more than 200 pounds and speed through the savanna on their gangly legs at speeds of up to 30 mph — this is not an issue. Luke Taylor, Discover Magazine, 18 Mar. 2022 But catch her motherly advice the night before gangly, teen-age Emma (Debra Winger) is going to be married to Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels), a boy with a comic/handsome face and the soul of a perpetual graduate student. Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2023 Rich had the experience of growing up on camera through his gangly adolescent years. Katie Reul, Variety, 8 Jan. 2023 For the most part, Shannon is just doing his gangly weirdo Michael Shannon schtick in Elvis & Nixon. Katie Rife, Vulture, 24 June 2022 Unlike Dirk, who arrived to the NBA as a gangly 20-year-old with a pretty shot, bad haircut and a serious case of homesickness, Luka came fully formed at 19. Dallas News, 4 Jan. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gangly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from gangl(ing) + -y entry 1

First Known Use

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of gangly was in 1871

Dictionary Entries Near gangly

Cite this Entry

“Gangly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


gan·​gly ˈgaŋ-glē How to pronounce gangly (audio)
ganglier; gangliest
: loosely and awkwardly built : lanky

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