verb (1)
\ ˈspaŋk How to pronounce spank (audio) \
spanked; spanking; spanks

Definition of spank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand


plural spanks

Definition of spank (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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


verb (2)
spanked; spanking; spanks

Definition of spank (Entry 3 of 3)

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: Verb As a schoolgirl in Brooklyn, Betty Rhyzyk once grabbed the yardstick from Sister Mary Ignatius, the teacher who was about to spank her, and whacked the nun instead. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 Then the mother asked Self if the school could spank the child for her. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 8 May 2021 Florida prosecutors have determined that no crime was committed after video circulated of an elementary school principal using a paddle to spank a 6-year-old girl whose mother secretly recorded it on video and alleged battery and child abuse. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 8 May 2021 Rivera then asked the school to spank the child for her, according to Self's testimony. Nicole Acevedo, NBC News, 8 May 2021 So Gershoff says that in spite of the lingering controversy, the safest approach parents can take is not to spank their kids. Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American, 3 May 2016 Stephens answered with two blistering winners, one a backhand down the line, one a crosscourt forehand, and had another highlight-film winner, an inside-out forehand, to spank away another break point. Wayne Coffey, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2020 Furthermore, there is a worrying body of research suggesting that parents who spank will later use harsher forms of punishment. Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American, 3 May 2016 Mississippi and Arkansas – states that like Alabama paddle more school children than any others – have come to a conclusion that spanking disabled kids is beneath even them. John Archibald |, al, 19 Dec. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spank.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of spank

Verb (1)

circa 1712, in the meaning defined above


circa 1785, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spank

Verb (1)


Verb (2)

back-formation from spanking

Learn More About spank

Time Traveler for spank

Time Traveler

The first known use of spank was circa 1712

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Dictionary Entries Near spank

spanish yellow



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Statistics for spank

Cite this Entry

“Spank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for spank


\ ˈspaŋk How to pronounce spank (audio) \
spanked; spanking

Kids Definition of spank

: to strike on the buttocks with the open hand

More from Merriam-Webster on spank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spank

Nglish: Translation of spank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spank for Arabic Speakers


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