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

Definition of lanky

: ungracefully tall and thin

Keep scrolling for more

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 Tall and lanky, Mr. Norris was one of several men who depicted the Marlboro Man. Mariel Padilla, New York Times, "Robert Norris, Marlboro Man Who Didn’t Smoke, Dies at 90," 11 Nov. 2019 By now, the two men looked strikingly alike — tall and lanky with sharp cheekbones. Washington Post, "Church accused of covering up priest’s abuse, and paternity," 9 Oct. 2019 Driver was six feet three and lanky, with squinty eyes, a beaky nose, and ears that stuck straight out. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Adam Driver, the Original Man," 21 Oct. 2019 Outlook: Drafted 19th overall, the lanky, athletic Croatian will spend plenty of time in Austin learning the NBA game while working to bulk up. Tom Orsborn,, "Breaking down the Spurs’ 2019-20 roster," 20 Oct. 2019 The scion of a prominent Hollywood family thus became a lanky, long-haired icon of countercultural rebellion, an exemplar of a newer, nervier Hollywood that would chase away the creaky, hoary spirit of the old. Justin Chang,, "Appreciation: The Peter Fonda role we should be talking about isn’t ‘Easy Rider,’ but ‘Ulee’s Gold’," 18 Aug. 2019 Ernie’s a lanky, white-haired retiree who has been a season-ticket holder since 1981. oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State football blowout victory was a $600,000 bargain," 14 Sep. 2019 Easy Rider, with its plot involving free love, a cross-country motorcycle trip and lots of drugs, became a grand temple of counterculture cinema, and Fonda’s Wyatt–a lanky, untroubled adventurer open to the world–its patron saint. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Remembering Peter Fonda as a Counterculture Star," 22 Aug. 2019 Bates, a lanky 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 29.2 points and 10.2 rebounds and was named the Gatorade Michigan boys basketball player of the year last season. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball offers scholarship to phenom Emoni Bates," 15 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of lanky

circa 1818, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lanky

Time Traveler for lanky

Time Traveler

The first known use of lanky was circa 1818

See more words from the same year

Statistics for lanky

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Lanky.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


very cautious or careful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!