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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clanking
Historical Examples
  • They swept around the circle at a sharp gallop, the clanking spurs and rattling sabres keeping time to the roar of the music.

    Betty at Fort Blizzard Molly Elliot Seawell
  • There are shouts of the men, clanking of chains, and puffing of locomotives.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
  • And from within the gate came groans and the whistling of scourges and the clanking of chains.

  • They heard the clanking stoppage, the shrill whistle of departure.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The two prisoners got upon their feet, trailing each a length of clanking chain.

  • There were a clamor of voices, a rustle of silks, a clanking of spurs and swords.

  • The key to the door hung with a dozen others, large and clanking at the belt of her blue jeans apron.

    Rough-Hewn Dorothy Canfield
  • For nearly an hour longer the pounding and clanking continued.

    The Rover Boys Under Canvas Arthur M. Winfield
  • The clanking swords, the thunder of cannons—all these were not.

    The Nameless Castle Maurus Jkai
  • The clanking and thud of relays sounded, the shrill of alarms.

    The Ultimate Weapon John Wood Campbell
British Dictionary definitions for clanking


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 clanking



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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