1 of 3

verb (1)

spanked; spanking; spanks

transitive verb

: to strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand


2 of 3


plural spanks
: an act of spanking : a sharp slap or blow to the buttocks usually with the palm of the hand
A variety of approaches have been tried for dealing with this problem, ranging from gently holding the child in the chair to a quick spank, but it is not yet clear which of these approaches is most effective …David A. Lieberman


3 of 3

verb (2)

spanked; spanking; spanks

intransitive verb

: to move quickly, dashingly, or spiritedly
spanking along in his new car

Examples of spank in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Konstantine Anthony, the Democratic mayor of Burbank, California, was seen in a viral Libs of TikTok video being spanked by drag queen Foxxy Roxywood at a campaign event over the weekend. Heather Hunter, Washington Examiner, 11 Sep. 2023 Children who are spanked, for example, showed greater activation in several regions of their medial and lateral prefrontal cortex when they were asked to view images of different faces. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 5 Sep. 2023 Then they got spanked by the struggling Cardinals, resulting in a sweep. Julian McWilliams,, 26 June 2023 That’s like giving someone a hug and a spanking them at the same time. ... Mark Heim |, al, 14 June 2023 In Soviet preschool, our teachers had spanked us, we would get yelled at for e.g., not having the motor skills to embroider the Kremlin. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 14 July 2022 According to the University of New Hampshire, as of 2019, 37 percent of kids in the United States were spanked regularly — a rate that increases among Black children. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2023 There’s plenty of evidence that shows spanking kids does more harm than good. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2023 In Oklahoma, nearly 4,000 students were spanked or paddled during that school year — including 853 students with disabilities. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2023
Monroe grabbed him, gave him a spank and sent him back on course. Steve Knopper, Billboard, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spank.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)


Verb (2)

back-formation from spanking

First Known Use

Verb (1)

circa 1712, in the meaning defined above


circa 1785, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spank was circa 1712

Dictionary Entries Near spank

Cite this Entry

“Spank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to strike on the buttocks with the open hand
spank noun

More from Merriam-Webster on spank

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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