\ ˈlaŋ-kē How to pronounce lanky (audio) \
lankier; lankiest

Definition of lanky

: ungracefully tall and thin

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Other Words from lanky

lankily \ ˈlaŋ-​kə-​lē How to pronounce lankily (audio) \ adverb
lankiness \ ˈlaŋ-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce lankiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for lanky

lean, spare, lank, lanky, gaunt, rawboned, scrawny, skinny mean thin because of an absence of excess flesh. lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours. a lean racehorse spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise. the gymnast's spare figure lank implies tallness as well as leanness. the lank legs of the heron lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness. a lanky youth, all arms and legs gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering. a prisoner's gaunt face rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment. a rawboned farmer scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality. a scrawny chicken skinny street urchins

Examples of lanky in a Sentence

the lanky basketball star was great at slam-dunking
Recent Examples on the Web Latimer’s spot has now been filled by rookie Courtland Sutton—another lanky second-round receiver. Andy Benoit,, "True NFL Draft Grades: 2014 Draft, Four Years Later," 8 May 2018 An Ohio physician first suggested in 1962 that Lincoln may have had Marfan syndrome, noting that the former president’s mother was also exceptionally tall and lanky, according to Clinical Correlations. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Abraham Lincoln Was Our Tallest President Ever. This May Be Why," 12 Feb. 2018 Converted quarterback Connor Blumrick, who’s long and lanky at 6-5 and 210, is running second team running back behind Spiller. Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle, "Texas A&M loses another running back ahead of bowl game," 22 Dec. 2019 Teams that are physical and long and lanky and athletic and can get past their guys on the bounce — basically better — have been a problem. Tom Noie, Indianapolis Star, "Another bankrupt day for Notre Dame at Bankers Life Fieldhouse," 21 Dec. 2019 Van Cliburn, a lanky American pianist, played the great concertos of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky in a lush romantic style, proving that America could compete with Russia culturally as well as militarily. The Economist, "The classical musicians who were enlisted in the cold war," 12 Dec. 2019 He was joined by Clark, 22, described as a shy, lanky would-be actor who led the Peoria chapter. William Lee,, "In 1969, charismatic Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton was killed in a hail of gunfire. 50 years later, the fight against police brutality continues," 3 Dec. 2019 The lanky middle-schooler with the skillful jump shot hit key baskets that carried the team into the championship. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Teen fatally shot in neighborhood his family had left to escape violence," 29 Nov. 2019 London, who has a similar lanky build at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, has come on strong in recent weeks and credits Pittman for helping him get up to speed. Creg Stephenson |, al, "USC vs. UCLA 2019 live stream; time, TV channel, watch online," 23 Nov. 2019

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

circa 1818, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lanky

Time Traveler

The first known use of lanky was circa 1818

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Statistics for lanky

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lanky.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for lanky


How to pronounce lanky (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lanky

: tall and thin with usually an awkward quality


\ ˈlaŋ-kē How to pronounce lanky (audio) \
lankier; lankiest

Kids Definition of lanky

: very tall and thin a lanky teenager

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More from Merriam-Webster on lanky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lanky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lanky

Spanish Central: Translation of lanky

Nglish: Translation of lanky for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lanky for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lanky

What made you want to look up lanky? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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