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 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, "What Science Says—and Doesn't—about Spanking," 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, "Analysis: Serena Williams often loses her cool when facing defeat. Now, she's all about calm.," 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, "What Science Says—and Doesn't—about Spanking," 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, "Alabama still hits disabled kids with boards," 19 Dec. 2019 How @obj thought spanking the cop was gonna go,’’ Garrett captioned the tweet. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett trade good-natured jabs on Twitter," 18 May 2020 The video, taken on April 14th, shows a brand spanking new F-15QA built for the Qatari Emiri Air Force. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch the World's Most Advanced F-15 Execute an Amazing 'Viking Takeoff'," 21 Apr. 2020 About 1 in 6 parents reported having spanked or slapped their children during the crisis. Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, "'We’re all stressed out': Parenting in a pandemic puts additional stress on families, children," 2 Apr. 2020 Kentucky is one of 19 states that still allow the practice, but many school districts no longer spank or paddle students. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Bill banning paddling in Kentucky schools idle but not dead yet, education chairman says," 5 Mar. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for spank

Time Traveler

The first known use of spank was circa 1712

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Statistics for spank

Cite this Entry

“Spank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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

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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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