\ 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
(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 How to pronounce shanked (audio) \ 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

For dinner, tuck into an entree, like the impossibly tender braised lamb shank ($19) in tomato sauce with scalloped potatoes, or the beef kabob made with top-notch filet mignon ($19) served with basmati rice and steamed veggies. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "First Look: Inside Lafayette’s new Middle Eastern bistro, Lavash," 19 June 2019 In her Instagram shot, which was taken in New York City, Duff is smiling from ear-to-ear, showing off what appears to be a cushion cut engagement ring, set on either a split shank band or flanked with trillions. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Hilary Duff Is Officially Engaged to Matthew Koma," 9 May 2019 Kathryn Money, VP of Strategy & Merchandising for Brilliant Earth, told T&C that the ring appears to be a cushion cut diamond in a white gold or platinum split shank solitaire setting. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About Hilary Duff's Engagement Ring," 9 May 2019 This tension in the bolt shank clamps two parts together. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Torque Wrench to Keep Your Car from Flying Apart," 26 Feb. 2019 The bones in trotters and shanks provide gelatin, which thickens the stew. Catherine M. Allchin, The Seattle Times, "Packed with flavor and prettily potted, the traditional Alsatian stew baeckeoffe is rich wintertime comfort," 11 Dec. 2018 Their chuck accepts only bits with a ¼-inch hex shank. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Cordless Drill/Driver vs Impact Driver: Which Do You Need?," 24 Jan. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Later, serving for a spot in a record 12th final at the All England Club, Federer shanked a leaping overhead off the top edge of his racket frame, giving Nadal a break point. Howard Fendrich,, "Roger Federer outlasts Rafael Nadal, advances to Wimbledon men’s final," 12 July 2019 Woodland, who led by two to start the third round, stretched it to as many as four shots when Rose shanked a bunker shot from in front of the par-3 fifth green, and Woodland followed with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth. Doug Ferguson,, "Gary Woodland leads Justin Rose by 1 heading into US Open final round," 15 June 2019 Woodland, who led by two to start the third round, stretched it to as many as four shots when Rose shanked a bunker shot from in front of the par-3 fifth green, and Woodland followed with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth. Doug Ferguson,, "Woodland takes 1-shot lead over Rose in US Open," 15 June 2019 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

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

30 Jun 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 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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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

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


something desired as essential

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