\ 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

Oh and, by the by, that lanky 14-year-old with the excellent dribble handle, court sense and hops? Michael Powell, New York Times, "Canada Becomes a Basketball Factory," 8 June 2019 Now the lanky forward heads into the summer having ended the season as a rotation component. Ira Winderman,, "Next step for Heat’s Jones? ‘A game that no one has seen before’," 4 June 2019 Just put your lanky arms around me and tell me everything is going to be OK. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Night King in Real Life Is a Total Snack, and I Don't Know How to Feel About It," 29 Apr. 2019 More than 50 countries, including the U.S., have recognized Mr. Guaidó, a lanky, 35-year-old legislator. José De Córdoba And Daniela Blandón, WSJ, "Violence Erupts in Venezuela Border Showdown," 23 Feb. 2019 As far as physical comparisons go Erickson said that Lara most closely resembles Jake Gatewood, another long, lanky prospect who played both shortstop and third for the Timber Rattlers in 2016. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gilbert Lara has grown up in the Brewers' minor-league system," 15 May 2018 This infantilizing image of Okpokwasili’s long, lanky body at Reid’s breast, though startling, is a cue that this sideways world of the TV Room is about accessing memory — history. Lauren Warnecke,, "'Poor People’s TV Room' mixes Boko Haram history with Oprah — and is a tough, tough piece to unpack," 13 Apr. 2018 Twiggy, the lanky model who defined the look of swinging... Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "Can You Pull Off a Beret if You’re Not French?," 4 Jan. 2019 Ali Sonko, the world’s most famous former dishwasher who worked his way up at Noma to become a partner in 2017, strolls up to the entrance, his lanky frame dressed in a sharp black suit. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "What It's Like to Eat at Noma, One of the World’s Most Famous Restaurants," 21 Dec. 2018

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

Dictionary Entries near lanky








Statistics for lanky

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lanky

The first known use of lanky was circa 1818

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lanky



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lanky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a tendency to relapse

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!