Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective lanky contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of lanky are gaunt, lank, lean, rawboned, scrawny, skinny, and spare. While all these words mean "thin because of an absence of excess flesh," lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness.

a lanky youth, all arms and legs

When can gaunt be used instead of lanky?

Although the words gaunt and lanky have much in common, gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering.

a prisoner's gaunt face

When is lank a more appropriate choice than lanky?

The synonyms lank and lanky are sometimes interchangeable, but lank implies tallness as well as leanness.

the lank legs of the heron

When would lean be a good substitute for lanky?

The words lean and lanky can be used in similar contexts, but lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours.

a lean racehorse

When could rawboned be used to replace lanky?

While in some cases nearly identical to lanky, rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment.

a rawboned farmer

How do scrawny and skinny relate to one another, in the sense of lanky?

Both scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality.

a scrawny chicken
skinny street urchins

Where would spare be a reasonable alternative to lanky?

The meanings of spare and lanky largely overlap; however, spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise.

the gymnast's spare figure

Thesaurus Entries Near lanky

Cite this Entry

“Lanky.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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