lankier; lankiest
: ungracefully tall and thin
lankily adverb
lankiness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for lanky

lean, spare, lank, lanky, gaunt, rawboned, scrawny, skinny mean thin because of an absence of excess flesh.

lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours.

a lean racehorse

spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise.

the gymnast's spare figure

lank implies tallness as well as leanness.

the lank legs of the heron

lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness.

a lanky youth, all arms and legs

gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering.

a prisoner's gaunt face

rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment.

a rawboned farmer

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

a scrawny chicken
skinny street urchins

Examples of lanky in a Sentence

the lanky basketball star was great at slam-dunking
Recent Examples on the Web Moss played just 27 snaps as the lanky edge rusher had a hard time gaining the necessary size. Adam Lichtenstein, Sun Sentinel, 5 July 2024 To begin with, Georgian writer-director George Sikharulidze’s debut feature places us mercilessly right into the last place on earth most of us would ever want to find ourselves: the lanky, concave frame and warped, self-loathing mindset of an incipient incel. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 3 July 2024 Her hair is the color of oysters, eyes wide like a tree frog, frail forearms doused in sunspots that travel all the way down her lanky piano fingers. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 29 June 2024 Poe has the lanky lines of someone growing at a rapid and confusing pace and the attitude that comes with it. Denise Petski, Deadline, 20 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for lanky 

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1818, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lanky was circa 1818

Dictionary Entries Near lanky

Cite this Entry

“Lanky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


lankier; lankiest
: being tall, thin, and usually loose-jointed
a lanky teenager
lankily adverb
lankiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lanky

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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