\ ˈshaŋk How to pronounce shank (audio) \

Definition of shank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle in humans or the corresponding part in various other vertebrates
b : leg
c : a cut of beef, veal, mutton, or lamb from the upper or the lower part of the leg : shin — see beef illustration
2 : a straight narrow usually essential part of an object: such as
a : the straight part of a nail or pin
b : a straight part of a plant : stem, stalk
c : the part of an anchor between the ring and the crown — see anchor illustration
d : the part of a fishhook between the eye and the bend
e : the part of a key between the handle and the bit
f : the stem of a tobacco pipe or the part between the stem and the bowl
h(1) : the narrow part of the sole of a shoe beneath the instep
3 : a part of an object by which it can be attached: such as
a(1) : a projection on the back of a solid button
(2) : a short stem of thread that holds a sewn button away from the cloth
b : the end (as of a drill bit) that is gripped in a chuck
4a : the latter part of a period of time
b : the early or main part of a period of time 11 p.m. on the East coast is merely the shank of the evening on the West coast
5 slang : an often homemade knife


shanked; shanking; shanks

Definition of shank (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to hit (a golf ball or shot) with the extreme heel of the club so that the ball goes off in an unintended direction also : to kick (a football) in an unintended direction

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Other Words from shank


shanked \ ˈshaŋ(k)t How to pronounce shanked (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for shank

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of shank in a Sentence

Noun the shank of a drill bit slashed at the prison guard with a shank he had secretly made from a scrap of metal
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Upon seeing the shank, Hines took off like a bullet, sprinting across more than half the field to make a sensational sliding catch. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Nyheim Hines, special teams unsung heroes in Colts blowout of Vikings," 22 Sep. 2020 But Indy got the ball back at its 35 because of Britton Colquitt’s 36-yard shank and an 11-yard return. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, "Mark Craig's Five Extra Points from Vikings/Colts," 20 Sep. 2020 Each menu item, from the lamb shank ($15) to the tea leaf salad ($10), comes in a clamshell container with a side of rice and savory, ginger-forward stir-fry of broccoli, potato, beans and snow peas. Soleil Ho,, "Best new takeout dishes in San Francisco and the Bay Area to try right now," 18 Aug. 2020 Like many versatile bullets, Terminal Ascent features grooving along the shank to improve accuracy across a range of rifles. Field & Stream, "Best of Both Worlds," 3 Aug. 2020 Hefty lugs and a TPU shank offered good grip and support on wet, rocky, and steep passes. Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics 2020 Outdoor Awards," 30 June 2020 The beef shank is cooked in the soup and then stir-fried with a tomato extract before being added back into the broth. Reese Oxner, Dallas News, "Kitchen Master brings handmade dumplings and Taiwanese cuisine to Frisco," 8 June 2020 There's this great lamb shank [with] pomegranate molasses... Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "A ‘Queer Eye’ Guide to Philadelphia," 5 June 2020 The traditional dinner for four includes items like matzo ball soup, braised carrots with prunes, potato kugel, roast brisket and braised lamb shank, plus two desserts. Ramona Saviss, The Hollywood Reporter, "Where to Order Passover Seder Dishes in Los Angeles," 3 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The barbecue pork shank along with the Carolina shrimp and grits is perfection. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Andre Knott’s favorite dining choices - Five for Friday," 16 Oct. 2020 At that point the suspect appears to shank Duncomb in the back, missing his spinal cord by a few inches, the report said. Fox News, "Black conservative journalist stabbed at Portland protest, report says," 30 July 2020 This is advisable when using a thick-bodied plastic worm, since the hook point has to pierce the worm, which gets bunched on the hook shank during hooksetting and can hinder penetration. Mark Hicks, Field & Stream, "How to Get Better Hooksets," 22 June 2020 But the 31-year-old Indianapolis resident was fired up at the prospect of shanking balls alongside his buddies Monday afternoon as Topgolf reopened for business. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, "Topgolf in Fishers has reopened. You can expect these coronavirus changes.," 18 May 2020 McKennie should’ve had a second assist five minutes later, but his fantastic through ball was shanked by Zardes, who had come on moments earlier for Altidore. Brian Straus,, "After Handling Jamaica, Weather Delay, USMNT Gets Gold Cup Final vs. Mexico," 4 July 2019 But then normally steady Jake Hartbarger shanked a late punt out of bounds for 5 yards, Brandon Sowards muffed a punt that turned into a quick Penn State TD early in the second half, and K Matt Coghlin had a 46-yard field-goal attempt blocked. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football grades: Dreadful performances across the board against PSU," 26 Oct. 2019 Seattle has posted an overall playoff record of three losses and two wins — one of those victories coming only after a Minnesota kicker shanked a short, go-ahead field goal with less than a minute left. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Russell Wilson," 4 Jan. 2020 Kicker Tim Ankerson shanks a field goal attempt from 24 yards out with 19 seconds left to prevent Oregon State from taking the lead in a 14-14 tie at Parker Stadium. oregonlive, "Civil War football history: The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers’ 122 meetings, game by game," 25 Nov. 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1927, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shank


Middle English shanke, from Old English scanca; akin to Old Norse skakkr crooked, Greek skazein to limp

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Time Traveler for shank

Time Traveler

The first known use of shank was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shank

Last Updated

7 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for shank


How to pronounce shank (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shank

: the straight, narrow part of a tool that connects the part that does the work with the part that you hold
: a piece of meat cut from the upper part of the leg
: the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle


\ ˈshaŋk How to pronounce shank (audio) \

Kids Definition of shank

1 : the part of the leg between the knee and ankle
2 : a cut of meat from the usually upper part of the leg a lamb shank
3 : the part of a tool that connects the working part with a part by which it is held or moved the shank of a drill bit


\ ˈshaŋk How to pronounce shank (audio) \

Medical Definition of shank

: the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle in humans or a corresponding part in other vertebrates

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