out·​flank | \ˌau̇t-ˈflaŋk \
outflanked; outflanking; outflanks

Definition of outflank 

transitive verb

1 : to get around the flank of (an opposing force)

Examples of outflank in a Sentence

The army outflanked the enemy. trying to outflank the competition

Recent Examples on the Web

Trump’s support for DeSantis could help the tea party conservative outflank the right wing of GOP front-runner Adam Putnam, who is Florida's agriculture commissioner and boasts a campaign war chest of $15.7 million. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "We the seagulls," 22 June 2018 Seehofer himself is under pressure from Soeder and other Bavarian leaders, who are trying to outflank the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party that’s polling about 13 percent in Bavaria ahead of a state election in October. Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg.com, "Merkel Still Has Support From Migration Hard-Liners," 25 June 2018 At home, his anti-immigrant, anti-E.U. sentiments helped him outflank the formerly neo-fascist Jobbik party on the right. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The pope’s challenge to Orban and Europe’s far right," 10 Apr. 2018 Within months of taking command, MacArthur – a World War II hero – had halted and outflanked the North Korean invaders, driving them back to the border with China. CBS News, "Almanac: Gen. Douglas MacArthur," 8 July 2018 In the process, supporters of environment protection have been thoroughly outflanked. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 In the wake of the ruling, Sánchez demanded a parliamentary vote of no confidence, and then managed to outflank opposition to his candidacy from Ciudadanos, which wanted a snap election. Raphael Minder, BostonGlobe.com, "Spain’s Rajoy ousted in no-confidence vote," 1 June 2018 The English-speaking son of American immigrant parents, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has carved out a niche politically by outflanking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the right. Dina Kraft, The Christian Science Monitor, "Israel's Naftali Bennett: Waiting in the (right) wings," 6 June 2018 Indeed, pro-Iranian parties have begun working to try to outflank al-Sadr. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "Iraqi election makes US foe al-Sadr a potential kingmaker," 16 May 2018

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

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about outflank

Dictionary Entries near outflank

outfit car







Statistics for outflank

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for outflank

The first known use of outflank was in 1765

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for outflank



English Language Learners Definition of outflank

: to move around the side of (something, such as an opposing force) to attack from behind

: to gain an advantage over (someone or something)

More from Merriam-Webster on outflank

See words that rhyme with outflank

Comments on outflank

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
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!