\ ˈshaŋk \

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
(2) : shankpiece
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 \ adjective

Synonyms for shank

Synonyms: Noun

blade, cutter, knife, shiv [slang]

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Examples of shank in a Sentence


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

The shank should fit well to the handle and the handle should be clean, not gunky. Robin Tribble, Popular Mechanics, "The One Thing You Should Never Do with a Screwdriver," 30 Nov. 2018 Click in whatever hex shank bit will do the job, drill, then simply turn the nose assembly to the next bit and drive. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Save Time With the 2-in-1 Worx Switchdriver," 23 Aug. 2017 Dredge the veal shanks in the seasoned flour and then tap off the excess. Tyler Florence, House Beautiful, "Tyler Florence's Recipe for California Osso Buco with Kumquat-Cranberry Gremolata," 6 Jan. 2011 Use a cordless drill driver and an Easy Out or similar spiral-shank accessory. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Extract Those Pesky Stripped Screws," 8 Nov. 2018 For your main, there’s a North Carolina roasted turkey with rosemary stuffing, sweet potato, and cranberry chutney, or a choice of lamb shank, John Dory, or housemade potato gnocchi. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Where to Dine Out for a Traditional-ish Thanksgiving Meal in New York City," 14 Nov. 2018 Tie a 7-inch length of twine from the circle of eye screws to the screw shank in each pipe. 5. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make Your Own Wind Chimes," 9 Feb. 2015 Basically, the head and shank of the bolt thermally expand and contract at different rates, which can help break it loose. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Six Ways to Extract Stuck Bolts—and the Nightmare of Trying Them All in a Row," 15 Oct. 2018 Rather, an entire World Cup cycle, and perhaps the legacy of the most gifted player of all time, was transformed by that one shank in Rio. Brian Straus,, "Quarterfinal Stage a Narrative Tipping Point for World Cup Contenders," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Federer shanked a potential backhand pass, and Anderson had saved the match point. Jon Wertheim,, "Four Thoughts From Four Quarterfinals: Rafa-Djokovic to Meet, Federer Upset," 11 July 2018 Nestle the veal shanks back into the pot, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Tyler Florence, House Beautiful, "Tyler Florence's Recipe for California Osso Buco with Kumquat-Cranberry Gremolata," 6 Jan. 2011 Woods was 3 over after 12 holes, even shanking a ball out of the trees on the 11th hole — one of his four bogeys. Jesse Smithey, Detroit Free Press, "Masters 2018: Tiger Woods rallies to shoot 1-over in first round," 5 Apr. 2018 Olivier Giroud shanked a couple chances, hasn’t put a shot on target at this World Cup, gets crushed by fans and the press and still remains invaluable to Deschamps’ system. Brian Straus,, "Le Bleuprint: France Follows Familiar World Cup Path in Reaching Final," 10 July 2018 But Sane shanks the kick, and his attempt goes nowhere near the goal. Joel Petterson, New York Times, "Colombia Emerges From the World Cup Chaos, Booting Senegal," 29 June 2018 More: Tiger Woods at the Masters: Live score updates, highlights Woods drove his tee shot into trouble at the par-4 11th and appeared to have shanked his second shot into the gallery of patrons. Jesse Smithey, Detroit Free Press, "Masters 2018: Tiger Woods laboring in first round; Marc Leishman leads," 5 Apr. 2018 McIlroy, who laughed as the critter scampered about, eventually shanked his drive. Christopher Hanna,, "From Best Round To Top Moments, Here Are The 2018 Travelers Highlights," 25 June 2018 Niang shanked a golden opportunity in the 19th minute, after left back Youssouf Sabaly did fabulously to intercept a pass intended for Lukasz Piszczek, beat a defender one-on-one, then split the defense with a pass to his streaking forward. Avi Creditor,, "WATCH: Niang Seals Senegal's Win Over Poland on Bizarre Sequence," 19 June 2018

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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Statistics for shank

Last Updated

27 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for shank

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

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More Definitions for shank



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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on shank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shank

Spanish Central: Translation of shank

Nglish: Translation of shank for Spanish Speakers

Comments on shank

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