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[klangk] /klæŋk/
a sharp, hard, nonresonant sound, like that produced by two pieces of metal striking, one against the other:
the clank of chains; the clank of an iron gate slamming shut.
verb (used without object)
to make such a sound.
to move with such sounds:
The old jalopy clanked up the hill.
verb (used with object)
to cause to make a sharp sound, as metal in collision:
He clanked the shovel against the pail.
to place, put, set, etc., with a clank:
to clank the cell door shut.
Origin of clank
First recorded in 1605-15, clank is from the Dutch word klank sound
Related forms
clankingly, adverb
clankingness, noun
clankless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clank
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was trouble in that place—moaning, splashing, gurgling, and the clank of machinery.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • The clank of the iron chain in the gear told that the cage in the shaft was working.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Behind them now came the clank and thud of a score of overtaking feet.

  • Voices and the clank of chains were heard in the patio, and then in the next room.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The shuffling movement and clank of chains was heard, but she did not turn her head.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The bell was rung violently—every clank sent a pang through her bosom.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
  • "But not here," he added, hearing the clank of the verger's keys.

  • The groan of breaking hearts is there—The falling lash—the fetter's clank!

    The Liberty Minstrel George W. Clark
  • At a hundred yards I gave the signal, and heard the clank and swish of the discharge.

    Danger! and Other Stories Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for clank


an abrupt harsh metallic sound
to make or cause to make such a sound
(intransitive) to move or operate making such a sound
Derived Forms
clankingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clank

1610s, perhaps echoic, perhaps a blend of clang (v.) and clink (v.), perhaps from a Low German source (cf. Middle Dutch clank, Dutch klank, Old High German klanc, Middle Low German klank, German Klang).


1650s, from clank (v.). Reduplicated form clankety-clank attested from 1895.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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