\ 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

The menu offers a selection of pastas and entrees such as pork parmigiano, eggplant lasagna and osso buco, veal shanks in a sauce over rice. Ava Garcia, azcentral, "These Arizona restaurants have some of the country's best views. Here's where to find them," 23 July 2019 Braised lamb shanks star on the Loft’s prix fixe menu. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, "Dine Downtown deals return to San Jose from July 19-28," 8 July 2019 The fast-casual restaurant serves steak gyros, lamb shank youvetsi, chicken souvlaki and moussaka. Los Angeles Times, "New L.A. dining options include seafood on the coast," 20 Aug. 2019 This 6-inch-high full-leather boot from Chippewa is light and comfortable thanks to a fiberglass shank and a soft Vibram outsole. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The 10 Best Work Boots for Any Type of Job," 2 Aug. 2019 One stirred bulalo, a popular soup in the Philippines made by cooking beef shanks and bone marrow. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "Breakfast of champions: How Manny Pacquiao pigs out before fight with Keith Thurman," 18 July 2019 Washington folded paper into the shape of an assault rifle, made a shank from a comb and threatened to throw urine and hurt staffers, Jefferson said. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Dallas teen accused in series of rapes, slaying of 23-year-old woman will face trial as an adult," 24 July 2019 At Mon Petit Cheri Cafe, patrons could enjoy authentic French cooking, from breast of duck with orange sauce and lamb shank to escargot and onion soup, as well as champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. Caroline Glenn,, "French restaurant Mon Petit Cheri on Park Avenue in Winter Park closes," 12 July 2019 Woodland followed up his shank by holing a chip for par. Daniel Rapaport,, "2019 U.S. Open Parting Thoughts: Woodland's Gutsy Win, Tiger's Showing and More," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Indy lost three of its final four — coach Tony Dungy's son committed suicide during that stretch — the final loss coming when Vanderjagt shanked a game-tying field-goal attempt in the final seconds of a 21-18 home playoff loss to Pittsburgh. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "USA Today ranks 2005 Colts over 2006 Super Bowl winners among top 100 teams," 7 Aug. 2019 The first championship point was replayed after a successful challenge from Djokovic; on the redo, Djokovic converted immediately, with Federer shanking a forehand drive high into the air, ending the match. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Novak Djokovic Wins Wimbledon, Outlasting Roger Federer," 14 July 2019 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

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

8 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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