out·​flank | \ ˌau̇t-ˈflaŋk How to pronounce outflank (audio) \
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 This seems less an example of truth telling than of what social-media activists would call edgelord behaviour: a provocative figure, sensing that a rival has seized the initiative, trying to outflank him with a more extreme approach. The Economist, "The ballad of Malcolm and Martin A twin biography retells the story of the civil-rights movement," 21 May 2020 But McConnell wants to avoid being outflanked as Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who work very well together, negotiate another rescue package that minimizes the interests of Senate Republicans. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Trump and McConnell headed toward clash over coronavirus spending," 26 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile on the question of broader economic stimulus, several Republicans are now outflanking Pelosi to the left. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Democrats' grotesque coronavirus failure," 17 Mar. 2020 These schemes seemed inspired by the government’s lingering fear of being outflanked on the left. The Economist, "In its second term, will India’s ruling coalition be bolder about reform?," 8 June 2019 Determined to outflank Congress, where his Republican allies didn’t quite have sixty votes in the Senate, Trump issued an executive order that targeted Muslims, banning many from entering the country. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Inevitable Acquittal and the Threat to American Democracy," 1 Feb. 2020 One of the more intriguing recent political developments in France, for instance, has been the far-right National Rally’s swift and increasingly successful move to outflank the leftist Green Party on ecological concerns. Thomas Chatterton Williams, Harper's magazine, "An Incoherent Truth," 20 Jan. 2020 At the moment, there is no indication that Rydzyk will align himself with any of the small right-wing parties trying to outflank Law and Justice. BostonGlobe.com, "Mixing politics and piety, a conservative priest seeks to shape Poland’s future - The Boston Globe," 22 Sep. 2019 At the moment, there is no indication that Father Rydzyk will align himself with any of the small right-wing parties trying to outflank Law and Justice. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Mixing Politics and Piety, a Conservative Priest Seeks to Shape Poland’s Future," 21 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of outflank

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for outflank

Time Traveler

The first known use of outflank was in 1765

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Statistics for outflank

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Outflank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outflank. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for outflank


How to pronounce outflank (audio)

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with outflank

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